Sacramento Republic FC saw their US Open Cup run come to a disappointing end in front of a sparse Wednesday night crowd at Bonney Field. A flurry of second half goals from the visiting Kitsap Pumas earned them a 3-1 victory and handed the Republic -- who never really looked like winning -- a crushing defeat in the process.
The Republic had a great chance to open the scoring early in the 5th minute, but Cameron Iwasa's shot from an Emrah Klimenta cross went wide of the target.
While the home side got the first real chance of the match, by and large it was the visitors who were making things happen. The Pumas displayed more energy going forward, crisper passing, and just generally looked like the better of the two teams.
Kitsap had an opportunity of their own in the 7th minute, but the open header went right into the awaiting hands of Evan Newton.
The best chance of the first half came from Kitsap in the 29th minute with a well worked bit of passing set up Hamza Haddadi for a shot towards the corner of the net, forcing a diving save from Evan Newton.
The first half ended with a whimper as both teams went into the locker rooms scoreless and not having had any particularly amazing opportunities to score.
The Story at Halftime
Sacramento Republic FC stats: 0 goals, 0 assists, 7 fouls, 1 corner, 0 offiside, 3 saves, 5 shots, 1 shot on goal.
Kitsap Pumas stats: 0 goals, 0 assists, 8 fouls, 2 corners, 1 offiside, 1 saves, 4 shots, 3 shot on goal.
Paul Buckle made two substitutions at halftime. Harry Williams came on for Thomas Stewart and James Kiffe came on for Joaquin Rivas.
The Republic started off the second half better than they ended the first, putting the visitors under pressure immediately with a Harry Williams shot less than a minute in.
However, despite the early push, the Republic did not hold the momentum for long and the pendulum had swung back to the visitors by the 50th minute.
Kitsap were the first to get on the scoresheet with a goal from Javier Castro in the 60th minute.
The Republic were quick to respond, getting the equalizer a minute later from a close range goal from Cameron Iwasa. Iwasa took advantage of some chaos in the box and pounced on a loose ball.
Not to be outdone, Pumas forward Mike Ramos scored in the 63rd minute to cement the lead. Republic keeper Newton made a save on the initial shot but was unable to make the catch and Ramos put in the rebound.
That lead was extended just a short time later by Javier Castro in the 65th minute, putting the Republic with a deep hole to climb out of.
The flurry of goals seemed to awaken the Republic from their apparent slumber and the suddenly came at the compact Pumas defense with a furious energy that would have been nice to see earlier. James Kiffe was particularly involved in the Republic's late push, routinely taking on --and beating-- multiple Pumas players at once trying to create some opportunities.
Two such opportunities came in the 84th minute. Daniel Trickett-Smith had a chance from the middle of the penalty area that was sent out for a corner kick. Then, after the ensuing corner, Harry Williams nearly got a goal after deflecting Octavio Guzman's shot.
However, despite the urgency of their final push, the Republic were unable to draw within one goal, much less find an equalizer to force extra time. When the final whistle blew, the Pumas players ran out onto the field to celebrate their upset and the Republic fans who had not already left the match began the slow walk to the parking lot.
In 2014 and 2015, Sacramento Republic's runs in the US Open Cup ended in disappointing but hard fought losses. This time around it was just disappointing.
Starting Lineups and Final Stats
Sacramento Republic FC Starting XI: Evan Newton; Joaquin Rivas (Out 45, Mike da Fonte, Chris Christian, Emrah Klimenta; Danny Barrera, Alfonso Motagalvan, Agustin Cazarez, Octavio Guzman; Thomas Stewart (Out 45), Cameron Iwasa
Sacramento Republic FC Bench: Dominik Jakubek, Harry Williams, Max Alvarez, Daniel Trickett-Smith, Mackenzie Pridham, James Kiffe, Chase Minter.
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