Sacramento Republic returned to USL play in middling form when they hosted Swope Park Rangers at Bonney Field. Despite some good play from the home team, the Republic ended up sharing points with the visitors after they battled to a 1-1 draw.
The match got off to a lively start, with both teams playing with high energy. Harry Williams was especially influential in the first 30 minute, getting on the end of many Republic attacks and causing the Rangers back line some problems.
The Republic appeared to have an opportunity early on in the 12th minute when Harry Williams got in behind the SPR defense and into a dangerous spot. He got around Rangers goalkeeper Zak Lubin but was unable to get a shot away.
Harry Williams threatened again in the 22nd minute, weaving his way through three Rangers players before getting tackled.
Buckle was impressed with the play from Williams, saying after the match that "it would've been arguably one of the best goals we've seen here if he finishes it off."
The first yellow card of the match went to Derek Foran for a high tackle on Kevin Olivera in 32nd minute. Foran may have been a bit fortunate to only receive a yellow card, as his tackle connected near Olivera's knee.
Williams had another shot in the 37th minute, a glancing header near the middle of the penalty area off a Daniel Trickett-Smith cross that was saved by Lubin.
Despite the entertaining play on the field, the first half ended scoreless and the teams went into the locker room without either one possessing a clear advantage.
The Story at Halftime
Sacramento Republic FC Stats: 0 goals, 0 assists, 7 fouls, 1 corner, 0 offside, 2 saves, 8 shots, 2 shots on goal.
Swope Park Rangers Stats: 0 goals, 0 assists, 6 fouls, 4 corner, 2 offside, 2 saves, 7 shots, 2 shots on goal.
The second half got began much like the first half ended, with some entertaining play from both teams.
Republic appeared to take the lead in the 55th minute with a strike by Octavio Guzman, but he was called offside by the assistant referee. It was a close call, similar to an earlier offside call that went against Swope Park Rangers.
The second yellow card of the match came in the 60th minute to SPR's Tyler Pasher for a foul on Chris Christian.
Republic coach Paul Buckle brought on Thommy Stewart for Joaquin Rivas in the 63rd minute, sending Octavio Guzman to the back line to play right back.
The third yellow card of the match came in the 66th minute and went to Agustin Cazarez, his second of the season.
Swope Park Rangers took the lead in the 74th minute with a goal from distance by Kevin Olivera. The goal was a good individual effort from Olivera, but Jakubek did not do particularly well with it.
"Dominik apologized after, in Dom style," said Buckle after the match. "I think he would probably expect to save it, but he did move."
Buckle also mentioned that the shot itself was not one that usually goes in, saying that with a shot that far away, "nine and a half times out of ten you know that's not going to go in, so you know you've done something right defensively for him to shoot from there."
Buckle made another substitution just after the goal, bringing Max Alvarez on for Daniel Trickett-Smith.
The Republic wasted no time getting an equalizer, drawing even with a goal from Cameron Iwasa in the 76th minute.
The goal came off a nice three pass sequence from Barrera, Williams, and Stewart. Stewart was awarded the assist on the play, but all three players deserve credit. Barrera pounced on the rebound from Octavio Guzman's blocked shot and hit a first time pass to Williams, who threaded the ball through to Stewart, who held off his defender well and laid the ball off to the waiting Iwasa.
Buckle brought on Alfonso Motagalvan as a substitute for Harry Williams in the 83rd minute to help strengthen the Republic defensively.
Despite the defensive nature of the Motagalvan substitution, the Republic pushed hard for a late game winner
Swope Park Rangers were handed another yellow card in the 85th minute when midfielder Ualefi tried to have Cameron Iwasa give him an impromptu piggy back ride.
It didn't really go how he had envisioned.
Midfielder Danny Barrera nearly got the Republic the game winner they were looking for with a rocket of a shot in the 86th minute, but Lubin did well to deflect the shot out for a corner kick.
Despite some heavy pressure and a multitude of chances, the Republic were unable to find a second goal and the game finished with the two teams tied with a goal apiece.
Lineup and Final Stats
Sacramento Republic FC Lineup: Dominik Jakubek, Joaquin Rivas, Derek Foran, Chris Christian, James Kiffe; Agustin Cazarez, Octavio Guzman, Danny Barrera, Daniel Trickett-Smith; Cameron Iwasa, Harry Williams.