Sacramento Republic FC set a new club record on Saturday with their 1-0 loss to Orange County Blues FC. The Quails are now in the middle of their longest ever losing streak.
Here are some things that went wrong in Saturday's record setting loss. In the past we've looked at some more pervasive issues that popped up multiple times, but today we're looking mostly at a few individual plays.
1. The Republic looked sluggish for large portions of the match.
While there were good stretches, overall there was little in the way of crisp, precise passing on display last Saturday. Too often we saw Republic players taking too many touches on the ball, not connecting well enough on their passes, and looking disjointed in general.
2. "That is a comedy of errors right there."
Those were the words that Color Commentator Kevin Goldthwaite used to describe the Republic's play on Orange County's game winner, and he is spot on.
For a team that is quite obviously playing with a defense-first mentality, mistakes like that are absolutely unacceptable. If not conceding a goal is bullet points one, two, and three on your game plan, not gift wrapping the opposition a goal should be written in ALL CAPS and in bold right beneath it. But enough about the fact that this play should never, ever have happened. Let's look at the play itself.
Here's a streamable so you can follow along.
The play begins with Danny Barrera receiving the ball and preparing to make a pass to JJ Koval in the middle of the field. He is not under too much pressure and can see that Koval is headed away from the OC Blues player marking him, expecting a pass into the open space in front of him. However, Barrera's pass ends up going behind Koval, forcing him to stop his momentum and try to make a play on the now 50-50 ball from a bad position.
The ball is turned over to OCB and the counter attack is on. Barrera pressures the man with the ball to force a pass to the wing, then winds up having to try to cover two Blues runners at once. At this point things don't look great for the Republic, but they don't look like a disaster waiting to happen.
The disaster that follows is of the Republic's own making. The pass in by the Blues player is a fairly poor one, going into a space occupied by Barrera and Chris Christian rather than any Blues player. However, Barrera's attempt to disrupt the play, despite having run past the ball, actually moves the ball right into the path of Pavle Popara, who takes advantage and scores.
While Barrera is the leading man in the comedy of errors, he had help from his two best supporting actors, Chris Christian and JJ Koval. Both Christian and Koval are the closest players to Popara when Barrera knocks the ball into his path, and both of them fail to make a challenge. Christian is slow to react to the surprise deflection, while Koval seems to think Christian has the play covered and slows up at precisely the wrong moment.
Overall, not the best play of the year for the boys in Old Glory Red.
3. Klimenta and Stewart's golden opportunity goes to waste.
Thommy Stewart and Emrah Klimenta had a fantastic opportunity for an equalizer later in the first half.
Cameron Iwasa does well to make the opportunity happen in the first place, fighting off two Blues players to take possession of the ball and spring Klimenta on the break. As soon as Thommy Stewart sees that Iwasa is going to make the pass, he takes off running and gets in a great position to receive Klimenta's square pass. The pass, however, is too soft and forces Stewart to slow down and adjust his run, allowing Miller to come out and cut out the chance.
If the breakaway had been converted, the Republic would have been re-energized and the mood going into the locker room at half time would have considerably different.
This is just not ok. Mackenzie Pridham is a better player than that.
The unfortunate thing is that this chance actually came on one of the Republic's better looking buildups. Despite a dicey first pass by Foran it was fairly quick, played entirely on the ground, and displayed patience from both Cameron Iwasa and Kip Colvey. That play should have resulted in a goal, plain and simple.
What do you think went wrong in the Republic's loss? Sound off in the comments below.