Sacramento Republic FC put in an impressive performance in their 2-1 loss to their MLS affiliate San Jose Earthquakes Saturday. An early Republic lead was erased by a second half brace from Quincy Amarikwa, giving the Republic their second straight preseason loss of 2016.
Despite the disappointing final result, the match against San Jose was actually heartening. It's not often that you walk away from a loss feeling fairly good, but that is what happened on Saturday. Although the scoreline was not what any of us wanted to see, there are definitely some positives to take out of the match.
Republic coach Paul Buckle agreed that the team put in an overall positive performance. "I'm very happy," he said after the match. "I'm absolutely delighted that we've upped our game. I think it was a big step up from the Rapids game."
Sacramento started the game off very well, coming out strong and threatening early. That early threat culminated in an 8th minute goal from trialist Mackenzie Pridham, the first Republic goal scored at Bonney Field in what seems like an eternity. The goal set the tone for much of the first half and the Republic rode that wave of momentum for much of the opening 45 minutes.
"It felt good to get my first goal at Bonney Field," said Pridham, who, as Cal Poly's all-time leading goalscorer is no stranger to scoring goals. "Over the last two years (since graduating) I've continued to score, but I haven't been able to find the right fit yet. That's something I feel here in Sacramento... I'm looking forward to putting in many more and representing the club, the fans and the team."
The Republic made three changes during half time, with Harry Williams replacing Pridham up top, Derek Foran talking the place of Chris Christian in central defense and Matt LaGrassa replacing Agustin Cazarez in central midfield.
In the second half, San Jose came out seemingly reinvigorated and threw themselves at the Republic goal right from the start, pushing for an early equalizer. Despite the best efforts of the Sacramento defense, the Quakes found their first goal just 6 minutes into the second half. Loomis native Tommy Thompson found former UC Davis forward Quincy Amarikwa at the back post for a close range shot.
Sacramento had a chance to pull ahead just a few minutes later when Octavio Guzman, in his first game back from injury, fired off a shot that was saved by San Jose keeper David Bingham.
Max Alvarez had a good opportunity to net the winner in the 71st minute when a defensive mistake from San Jose put him in a dangerous position. Unfortunately Bingham came up big for the Quakes again, coming off his line to smother the ball.
Despite the Republic's best efforts throughout the second half, it was the Quakes who eventually pulled ahead with an 86th minute headed goal from Amarikwa off a Kip Colvey cross. Although there were some last-gasp attempts at finding an equalizer, Amarikwa's tally put the game away for good and Sacramento lost 2-1.
With the loss to San Jose now behind them, the Republic's focus turns away from Bonney Field and to the rest of their preseason schedule. The team will face 5 teams within the next 2 weeks, all away from home. First up is a game this Wednesday against the Sacramento State Hornets at Hornet Field, followed by a match against Sonoma County Sol at Santa Rosa High School.