The match started quickly for Phoenix Rising FC, getting their first shot just 30 seconds into the match. On the opening kickoff, Jason Johnson took the ball down the left side before sending it back across to the middle of the box. Midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips swung and missed on his shot attempt, but Alessandro Riggi, who was following the play, collected the ball taking a touch to his right before unleashing a rocket on goal that went right over the crossbar.
Phoenix would score soon after however, in the 10th minute. Wright-Phillips had a corner on the left side, sending a driven ball toward the front post. Forward Chris Cortez ran in front of the Republic FC defense and flicked the ball toward the back post. Cortez’ header beat Republic FC keeper Evan Newton, hit the post and fell into the back of the net putting Phoenix ahead 1-0.
Republic FC soon recovered, dominating a massive 65 percent of the possession in the first half. Their best look at goal came in the 32nd minute. After a few blocked attempts on goal, Emrah Klimenta collected the ball on the right side near the top of the box. The defender took a touch before ripping a right-footed strike on goal that beat the keeper, but rolled just left of the goal, keeping the score 1-0 going into the half.
The second half of the match saw a flurry of goals from both clubs. In the 48th minute, Johnson again led a Phoenix attack, this time down the middle of the pitch. Johnson took the ball near the top of the box before sending it out wide left for Cortez who was running alongside. Cortez took a touch before sending it back to Johnson, whose one-touch left-footed shot tucked just inside the goal, putting Phoenix ahead 2-0.
Republic FC responded quickly however. Defender James Kiffe had the ball wide right before crossing the ball into the box. Substitute forward Matt Wiesenfarth chested the ball to his feet before sending it back to Agustin Cazarez. The midfielder took a strong left-footed shot from the top of the box, which was blocked by a diving Carl Woszczynski. The Phoenix keeper saved the shot, but was unable to collect the ball as it rolled just out of his reach. Substitute forward Trevin Caesar followed the play perfectly and tapped home the rebound for his club-leading seventh goal of the season, pulling Republic FC within a goal of Pheonix.
Phoenix would score a quick response however, scoring in the 52nd minute. Wright-Phillips took a corner from the right side that threatened, but Newton was quick off his line, punching the ball away. Newton’s punch went only as far as Cortez, however, who immediately sent a chipped cross back into the box after seeing that Newton was yet to recover from the punch. Peter Ramage skied high over the defense and headed the cross into the open goal for the 3-1 lead.
Republic FC would work hard again to find another response with their best look on goal coming in the 78th minute. Defender Chris Christian took a free kick from about 35 yards from goal, sending a short pass to Cazarez who had found open space. Cazarez then sent the ball into the box and to the feet of Caesar who rounded his man, who had gone to the ground, before striking a right-footed shot on goal, but the shot was just wide hitting the outside of the side netting.
“We have been pretty water tight on set plays since I got here, but tonight we were not and we paid the price,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “It was unlike us, I can’t remember the last time we conceded three goals.”
Republic FC will return home when they host Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday, Sept. 2. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Papa Murphy’s Park. There will also be fireworks following the match. Tickets are available at SacRepublicFC.com.
Scoring Summary: PHX – Chris Cortez (Shaun Wright-Phillips) 10, Jason Johnson (Chris Cortez) 48, Peter Ramage (Chris Cortez) 52; SAC – Trevin Caesar 50.
Misconduct Summary: SAC – Hayden Partain (caution) 37; PHX – Kody Wakasa (caution) 38, Jason Johnson (caution) 90.
Sacramento Republic FC – Evan Newton, Elliott Hord, Chris Christian, Carlos Rodriguez (Matt Wiesenfarth 46), Emrah Klimenta (Harry Williams 64), James Kiffe; Agustin Cazarez, Jeremy Hall, Hayden Partain; Tyler Blackwood, Wilson Kneeshaw (Trevin Caesar 46).
Subs Not Used: Dominik Jakubek; Peter McGlynn, Gabe Gissie, Christian Chaney.
Stats: Shots: 10, Shots on Goal: 4, Saves: 5, Fouls: 6, Corner Kicks: 5, Offside: 2.
Phoenix Rising FC – Carl Woszczynski; Peter Ramage, Jordan Stewart, Victor Vasquez, Kody Wakasa; Matt Watson (Sam Hamilton 84), Kevon Lambert, Alessandro Riggi (Blair Gavin 81), Shawn Wright-Phillips (Amadou Dia 89); Chris Cortez, Jason Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Josh Cohen; Doueugui Mala, Matt Hurlow, Eric Avila.
Stats: Shots: 13, Shots on Goal: 8, Saves: 3, Fouls: 12, Corner Kicks: 8, Offside: 1.