After Sacramento Republic FC were awarded two free kicks in the opening five minutes and couldn’t connect, San Antonio FC earned a corner kick in the 9th minute. Midfielder Omar Gordon sent in the corner kick that was deflected and fell in the box. The ball trickled through the bodies in the box before Republic FC keeper Josh Cohen came off his line to snatch up the loose ball.
Republic FC put the pressure on after the close call in the box. Midfielder Keven Alemán looked especially dangerous as he was able to fire off multiple shots from distance, but could not find the target. Villyan Bijev was able to get his free kick on frame in the 32nd minute, but San Antonio keeper Diego Restrepo was in position to get the save.
San Antonio had their best chance of the first half in the 31st minute. Midfielder Kris Tyrpak was able to beat the defense up the left wing and charge down the touch line. Tyrpak tried to slide the ball across the face of goal for his forwards, but Cohen read the play well as he dove to catch the cross. Republic FC was able to clear the ball away only to have San Antonio keep the attack on. The visitors crossed the ball into the box for Gordon at the far post. The midfielder used his chest to drop the ball to his feet and find space for a shot. He blasted a shot through the defense but sent it up and over the crossbar and out of play.
Republic FC took the lead just before halftime. Bijev drove down the left wing before cutting the ball back inside. He then slid a pass outside the box for Cameron Iwasa. The forward picked his head up and sent a through ball into the box for Alemán, who was making a run up the right wing. Alemán sent a blistering one-touch shot with his left foot past a diving attempt from Restrepo.
Republic FC doubled their lead just after halftime. Three minutes into the second half, Bijev put pressure on the left side of the visiting defense before he cut it back inside and whipped a shot on goal with his right foot. Restrepo dove to block Bijev’s far-post shot, but gave up a rebound in the process. Republic FC forward Christian Eissele was in the right place at the right time as he pounced on the loose ball and smashed it into the net for the 2-0 lead.
San Antonio pulled one back in the 68th minute. After the initial shot from Connor Presley hit off the post, Darnell King ran onto the rebound and dropped off a pass to the middle. Midfielder Mikey Lopez stepped into the pass from King and sent a one-touch shot around a diving save attempt from Cohen and into the back of the net. The visiting side spent the final 20 minutes searching for the equalizer, but Cohen would not relent as he made numerous crucial saves to secure the 2-1 victory for Republic FC.
“I think the end result was successful, but I wouldn’t say it was a successful 90 minutes,” said Republic FC Head Coach Simon Elliott after the victory. “We need to be a 90-minute team and we’re not there yet. Obviously, some nice goals and I thought we were tough at the end. We just need to brush up and move on.”
Republic FC will travel to Orange County SC for their next USL matchup on Saturday, March 24, at Champions Soccer Stadium at OC Great Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the match will be broadcast live on KQCA My58 and Estrella TV Sacramento.
Scoring Summary: SRFC – Keven Alemán (Cameron Iwasa) 45, Christian Eissele 48; SAFC – Mikey Lopez (Darnell King) 68
Misconduct Summary: SAFC – Diego Restrepo (caution) 5, Ever Guzman (caution) 39, Wellington Pecka (caution) 72, Mikey Lopez (caution) 82; SRFC – Jeremy Hall (caution) 76, Keven Alemán (caution) 77
San Antonio FC – Diego Restrepo, Darnell King, Ryan Felix, Chris Christian, Greg Cochrane (Alex Bruce 83), Mikey Lopez, Wellington Pecka, Omar Gordon (Max Rodriguez 79), Ryan Roushandel (Connor Presley 64), Kris Tyrpak, Ever Guzman
Subs Not Used: Matt Cardone, Cyprian Hedrick, Mike Seth, Gianluca Cuomo, Max Rodriguez, Alex Bruce.
Stats: Shots: 9, Shots on Goal: 2, Saves: 4, Fouls: 17, Corner Kicks: 5, Offside: 0.
Sacramento Republic FC – Josh Cohen, Shannon Gomez, Cole Seiler, Mitchell Taintor, Hayden Partain, Keven Alemán (Justin Schmidt 84), Jeremy Hall, Jaime Villareal, Villyan Bijev (Luis Espino 69), Christian Eissele (Adam Moffat 76), Cameron Iwasa.
Subs Not Used: Rafa Diaz, Carlos Rodriguez, Quincy Butler, Mark McEntosh.
Stats: Shots: 13, Shots on Goal: 6, Saves: 1, Fouls: 20, Corner Kicks: 2, Offside: 2.
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