The match started like a match with a lot riding on it with both teams attacking, but also cautious not to concede early. Orange County SC would break through in the 27th minute on a great individual play by Zachary Kobayashi who started the attack down the left side. The midfielder weaved through the Republic FC defense before cutting inside near the top of the box. The move gained space for Kobayashi who took a curling right-footed shot that hit the top of the bar and despite bouncing out, was perfectly followed up by Rodrigo Pacheco who tapped the rebound in from a few feet away, putting Orange County ahead 1-0.
Republic FC seemed to be ignited by the goal and immediately looked to equalize, almost finding their goal in the 28th minute. Villyan Bijev led the play down the left side of the field before making a similar move to the one made by Kobayashi just a minute before and firing a right-footed shot that beat the keeper, but hit the bottom of the bar and bounced away before it was headed away by Orange County.
Republic FC would find their equalizer just before halftime in the 43rd minute. James Kiffe stepped up to take a free kick from around 25 yards out from the top of the box following a foul on midfielder Luis Espino. Kiffe faked as though he would take a shot on goal, but then just touched the ball to Bijev who was making a run through the middle of the box. The midfielder used a quick one-touch pass to play Sammy Ochoa free and the forward did the rest hitting the ball with the outside of his right foot and past keeper Charlie Lyon and into the back of the net to knot the score 1-1 going into the half.
The second half started much like the first with each team feeling each other out, not wanting to concede a match-winning goal. Republic FC looked to have broken through in the 73rd minute on a counter attack. Kiffe took the ball down the middle before breaking just wide to the left. The defender then took the ball back toward the middle with a touch opening a gap between his two defenders. Kiffe then blasted a low shot through the defenders that beat Lyon, but rolled just wide right of the goal.
Orange County would find their second goal in the 80th minute. Pacheco played the ball from the middle of the field toward the right side of the box. Substitute midfielder Dušan Stevanovic connected with the cross with a one-touch right-footed shot that looked destined for the near post. Kiffe was in great position to block the ball away, but it took a bad deflection for Republic FC, going right back to Stevanovic who took a left-footed shot this time that beat Evan Newton and found the far post and the back of the net putting Orange County ahead 2-1.
Republic FC looked again for an equalizer, having their best chance come in the 85th minute. After a good attacking play through the middle, Republic FC earned a corner. Kiffe stepped up to take the corner, sending a long ball toward the back post. Defender Carlos Rodriguez connected with Kiffe’s corner, sending a header toward the goal, but his shot went just over the bar.
Orange County sealed their victory three minutes into stoppage time. Forward Jerry van Ewijk played a one-two on the left side of the pitch with second half substitute Irvin Parra who played his return pass long, playing van Ewijk into a one-on-one with Newton. The forward calmly played the ball on the ground past the keeper and into the far side of the net to give Orange County the 3-1 victory.
Republic FC’s magic number for clinching playoffs remains at two points which can be obtained with a win on Saturday when they continue their three-match road stretch against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday, Oct. 7. Kickoff is 5 p.m. PT at Weidner Field. The match will be broadcast on ESPN3.
Scoring Summary: OC: Rodrigo Pacheco 27, Dušan Stevanovic 80, Jerry van Ewijk (Irvin Parra) 90; SAC – Sammy Ochoa (Villyan Bijev) 43.
Misconduct Summary: SAC – James Kiffe (caution) 86
Sacramento Republic FC – Evan Newton, Peter McGlynn (Elliott Hord 87), Chris Christian, Carlos Rodriguez, James Kiffe; Agustin Cazarez, Jeremy Hall, Luis Espino (Harry Williams 72), Villyan Bijev; Tyler Blackwood, Sammy Ochoa (Matt Wiesenfarth 65).
Subs Not Used: Dominik Jakubek; Gabe Gissie, Christian Chaney, Hayden Partain.
Stats: Shots: 15, Shots on Goal: 2, Saves: 2, Fouls: 9, Corner Kicks: 4, Offside: 3.
Orange County SC – Charlie Lyon; Jeannot Esua, Oscar Sorto, Walker Hume, Juan Pablo Ocegueda; Victor Pineda, Frank Olijive, James Baxendale (Irvin Parra 61), Zachary Kobayashi (Dušan Stevanovic 73); Rodrigo Pacheco, Jerry van Ewijk.
Subs Not Used: Casey Beyers; Gustavo Villalobos, Carlos Alvarez, Sola Abolaji, Roy Meeus.
Stats: Shots: 9, Shots on Goal: 5, Saves: 1, Fouls: 9, Corner Kicks: 0, Offside: 0.