After losing their first game of the season last Sunday in Portland, Sacramento Republic were hoping that a return to Bonney Field would put them on the right track with a win. That was not in the cards, as the Republic lost their second game in a row, this time at home in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 fans.
The first shot of the night went to Saint Louis, but the first 20 minutes were all Republic. The home team dominated possession but was unable to create many dangerous opportunities. The most dangerous early chance for either team came in the X minute for Sacramento but former Republic goalkeeper Patrick McLain was able to cut out the danger.
The match evened out after about 30 minutes as Saint Louis started making things happen in the Republic's defensive end. The most heart-stopping moment for Republic fans came in the X minute when Chris Christian was forced to make an inch perfect slide tackle to stop a dangerous breakaway for the visitors. Christian's tackle kept it scoreless, but anything less than a perfect tackle would have resulted in a red card for him and a penalty kick for Saint Louis.
Despite a combined 11 shots between the two teams, the first 45 minutes ended scoreless. The Republic have still not scored in the first half of any of their games.
Sacramento Republic FC: 8 fouls, 4 corners, 2 offside, 1 save, 7 shots, 0 shots on goal
Saint Louis FC: 7 fouls (approximated 8 of which were on Harry Williams), 1 corner, 2 offside, 0 saves, 4 shots, 1 shot on goal
The second half started much like the first one ended, with the two teams going back and forth with neither really taking advantage. Many of the Republic's dangerous plays came off corner kicks, but in true Republic fashion the team was not able to capitalize on any of them.
Saint Louis, on the other hand, looked to take advantage of the home team's corner kick attempts with counter attacks. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the visitors finally broke through in the 58th minute and scored what ended up being the only goal of the match. A Republic corner was cleared out and picked up by a Saint Louis player, who sent a pass to Mike Ambersley, whose cross across into the box deflected off the knee of James Kiffe and past Dominik Jakubek into the back of the net.
The goal jolted the Republic attack awake and sparked a rush to score an equalizer that unfortunately would never come. Possibly the best chance that the Quails had for a tying goal came in the 65th minute courtesy of Alfonso Motagalvan, who unleashed a screamer that went just over the crossbar.
That's a potential Goal of the Week contender there.
Octavio Guzman and Max Alvarez came on in the 67th minute for Mackenzie Pridham and Motagalvan to bring some much needed attacking spark.
Alvarez nearly vindicated Buckle's decision to bring him on in the 75th minute when he unleashed one of the better shots of the second half. He cut inside from the right wing and ripped a rocket of a shot that went just wide of the net.
There were a few other opportunities for the Republic, but the Saint Louis defended their lead well and walked out of Bonney Field with a very valuable three points.
The loss was the Republic's second in a row, taking them to eighth place in the Western Conference with seven points from five games.
Final Stats and Lineups
Sacramento Republic Starting XI: Dominik Jakubek; Emrah Klimenta (Out 84), Derek Foran, Chris Christian, James Kiffe; JJ Koval, Alfonso Motagalvan (Out 68), Danny Barrera, Cameron Iwasa; Harry Williams, Mackenzie Pridham (Out 68)
Subs: Evan Newton, Agustin Cazarez, Thomas Stewart, Carlos Rodriguez, Chase Minter (In 84), Max Alvarez (In 68), Octavio Guzman (In 68).
Stats: 0 goals, 0 assists, 10 fouls, 11 corners, 2 offside, 1 save, 18 shots, 4 shots on goal
Next up for Sacramento is a home game against Ivan Mirković and the Orange County Blues next Saturday at 7:30pm.
What are your thoughts on how the game went? Sound off in the comments below.