Sacramento Republic were in preseason form in their 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids in the first preseason game of the year. A late goal by Colorado Rapids defender AJ Cochran broke the deadlock between the two teams, taking away what looked to be an earned draw by the Republic.
The level of play from both teams was fairly disappointing in the first half, with both teams displaying decidedly preseason levels of passing, movement, and play in general. The Republic's attack looked toothless, with no quality scoring chances created and just two poor shots. Defensively the picture was a bit brighter for the Republic, with new defensive additions Mike da Fonte, Chris Christian, and Evan Newton putting on a fairly good showing.
Simply put, there was no real offensive threat being put forward from either team and on the whole it was a pretty boring first 45 minutes.
SRFC vs Colorado Rapids first half analysis. pic.twitter.com/jrkwkmtJkW— Hector (@Hec18) February 14, 2016
Things picked up a bit in the second half, with most of the game's high points coming in the second 45 minutes. The passing was crisper, the movement was better, and the overall level of play improved.
While the Rapids subbed out seemingly all of their field players at the half, Republic waited until the 54th minute to make the bulk of their substitutions, with Matt LaGrassa, Max Alvarez, trialist Mackenzie Pridham and trialist Alex Risdale coming on for Cameron Iwasa, Agustin Cazarez, Alfonso Motagalvan and Thomas Stewart.
The high point for Republic came in the 67th minute when Max Alvarez went on a nice run down the left flank, crossed the ball looking for Pridham but after a deflection found Barrera, whose shot went just a hair wide. It was the home team's best chance of the night and was a glimpse of what we would all like to see more of in the coming months.
In the 73rd minute it appeared that Pridham had broken the deadlock, but his goal was called offside, much to the disappointment of the crowd.
Another highlight reel moment came in the 84th minute from Joaquin Rivas, who sent a great long ball over the top of the Rapids defense to Pridham. Pridham then laid the ball off to Risdale, whose shot went wide.
Despite a few chances for Sacramento, it was the Rapids who eventually broke the deadlock, scoring in the 86th minute on an AJ Cochran header off a free kick delivery from Marc Burch.
The goal seemed to energize the Republic attack and they went looking for an equalizer that they were unfortunately unable to find. Many of the chances that the team got late came from their series of corner kicks in the last minute, all of which — in true Republic fashion — went unconverted.
With the Rapids loss now behind them, the Republic look forward to a midweek match against the PDL's Burlingame Dragons and then a meeting next Saturday against their rival and MLS affiliate, the San Jose Earthquakes.
Look for a more in-depth reaction to the match, including quotes from Coach Buckle, Ivan Mirkovic and Chris Christian tomorrow on Indomitable City Soccer.
Republic Lineup and Final Stats
Staring Lineup: Evan Newton; Agustin Cazarez, Mike da Fonte, Chris Christian, Emrah Klimenta; Danny Barrera, Alfonso Motagalvan, Ivan Mirkovic, Cameron Iwasa; Harry Williams, Thomas Stewart.
Subs: Derek Foran (45) Alex Risdale (54), Matt Lagrassa (54), Max Alvarez (54), Mackenzie Pridham (54), Joaquin Rivas (73)
Final Republic Stats: Shots: 6, Shots on Goal: 0, Saves: 2, Fouls: 16, Corner Kicks: 5, Offside: 2.