TURLOCK, Calif. (March, 4, 2018) — Sacramento Republic FC continued its preseason work ahead of the 2018 campaign on Sunday night, drawing 1-1 with USL-newcomer Fresno FC at Warriors Stadium.
Republic FC were the first side to threaten. In the 13th minute, Cameron Iwasa played Villyan Bijev through into the box and the Bulgarian maneuvered around a defender before firing off a shot that Fresno keeper Sean Melvin saved on his near post.
The home side grew into the game, however, and in the 29th minute, former Republic FC midfielder Danny Barrera headed a cross toward goal that went just wide of Josh Cohen’s far post.
Barrera nearly scored again in the 33rd minute, but his shot from outside the box sailed just wide of goal.
Iwasa opened the scoring a few minutes later after Bijev split Fresno’s defense with an incisive through ball. The Sacramento-native was left one-on-one with Melvin and smoothly chipped the ball over the keeper to put Republic FC ahead.
A few minutes later, Iwasa nearly had his second of the night after getting played through on goal, but Melvin was able to parry his shot away. On the ensuing corner, Bijev’s headed effort sailed just over the bar.
Just three minutes into the second half, Fresno had a chance to tie the game through Jemal Johnson, but the midfielder’s shot from outside the box went wide of goal.
Fresno finally equalized in the 65th through a headed shot from forward Juan Pablo Caffa. Fullback Alex Cooper made a surging run down the left wing before delivering a cross into the box that Caffa headed past an outstretched Cohen.
Republic FC thought to have retaken the lead in the 68th minute after Jaime Villarreal played Kevin Alemán through on goal, but the Costa Rican was judged to be offside.
The linesman denied Republic FC once more in the final minute of the match after Hayden Partain won a free kick for Republic FC outside of the box. Villarreal stepped up and lofted a ball to Mitchell Taintor who struck home, but was called for offside.
Republic FC will travel to Ohio next weekend to face FC Cincinnati on Sunday, March 11, in their final preseason matchup. The club will kick off their 2018 USL season on Saturday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m. against San Antonio FC at Papa Murphy’s Park. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.
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