The match began very close with both teams feeling each other out and trying not to give up an early goal. Republic FC would see the best opportunity of the half in the 34th minute. On a counter attack, Villyan Bijev started a four-on-two chance with a run down the middle of the pitch. He took the ball to about 25 yards out drawing the two defenders to the middle before passing the ball wide to Wilson Kneeshaw who went one-on-one with Connor Sparrow. The forward took a touch or two before blasting a shot toward goal, but a sliding Real Monarchs defender was there for the clearance to keep the match scoreless.
The chance sparked a flurry of chances for Republic FC capped off by a free kick in stoppage time. Kneeshaw was brought down about 25 yards out on the right side, setting up the free kick. Chris Christian stepped up and blasted a left-footed shot that beat the wall, but Sparrow was quick to get to his side to block the ball away and end the half scoreless.
Republic FC started the second half on fire, attacking the Monarchs goal in an effort to find an early goal. Their efforts paid off in the 49th minute. Bijev had the ball near the top of the box before sending a through ball toward Kneeshaw who was making a run through the box. The forward fought through a man to save the ball from going out before sending a ball back into the middle. Luis Espino made a great run through the middle before blasting the grounded cross into the goal and putting Republic FC ahead 1-0.
The Monarchs would fight back looking for an equalizer and would find one in the 85th minute. Midfielder Max Lachowecki was brought down in the box resulting in a penalty kick. Chandler Hoffman stepped up and sent a soft shot into the right side of the net as Evan Newton dove left to even the score 1-1 and force extra time.
Republic FC had the best chance of the first extra time period. In the 91st minute Elliott Hord began the play by taking the ball down the right side of the field. Hord then sent a cross into the box that found substitute midfielder Hayden Partain who was wide open in the middle of the box. Partain leapt in the air and headed a ball on goal, but Sparrow was there again to keep the match at 1-1.
Republic FC would have the best chance second extra time period as well. In the 117th minute, Hord again sent a cross into the box, and this time Sparrow was quick off his line to punch the ball away. Sparrow’s punch however only got as far as Lamin Suma who settled the ball and sent a chipped ball toward goal that beat the keeper, but went just centimeters over the bar. The match would then be forced into penalties.
Danny Cruz took the first penalty for the Monarchs and skied it over the bar, opening the door for Republic FC. After Partain buried his penalty Sebastian Velasquez stepped up, but Newton was there to save the shot as the midfielder attempted to sneak the ball by the keeper’s left hand. After James Kiffe, Daniel Haber for the Monarchs and Jeremy Hall all netted their penalties, it was Newton again who came up big, this time saving Hoffman’s second penalty of the game and advancing Republic FC into the Western Conference Semifinals where they will face the winner of Phoenix Rising FC vs Swope Park Rangers. Details to be announced including locations for watch parties. The match will be carried live on CW31.
Scoring Summary: SAC – Luis Espino (Wilson Kneeshaw) 49; SLC - Chandler Hoffman (penalty) 86.
Penalty Shootout Results:
SLC – Danny Cruz – Miss
SAC – Hayden Partain – Goal
SLC – Sebastian Velasquez - Save
SAC – James Kiffe – Goal
SLC – Daniel Haber – Goal
SAC – Jeremy Hall – Goal
SLC – Chandler Hoffman – Save
Misconduct Summary: SAC – James Kiffe (caution) 20; SLC – Nick Besler (caution) 38, Max Lachowecki (caution) 82.
Sacramento Republic FC – Evan Newton, Elliott Hord, Chris Christian, Emrah Klimenta, James Kiffe, Agustin Cazarez, Jeremy Hall, Luis Espino, Villyan Bijev (Hayden Partain 84); Wilson Kneeshaw (Tyler Blackwood 90), Sammy Ochoa (Lamin Suma 101).
Subs Not Used: Dominik Jakubek; Peter McGlynn, Carlos Rodriguez, Harry Williams.
Stats: Shots: 14, Shots on Goal: 6, Saves: 2, Fouls: 14, Corner Kicks: 10, Offside: 5.
Real Monarchs SLC – Connor Sparrow; Daniel Cruz, James Moberg, Taylor Peay, Emilio Orozco; Max Lachowecki (Kyle Curinga 120), Sebastian Velasquez, Nick Besler, Diego Calvo (Karsten Hanlin 59); Juan Mare (Daniel Haber 67), Chandler Hoffman.
Subs Not Used: Andrew Putna; Andrew Brody, Michael Gallagher, Skyler Milne.
Stats: Shots: 18, Shots on Goal: 2, Saves: 5, Fouls: 17, Corner Kicks: 5, Offside: 0.