It took a bit of last-minute luck, but Sacramento Republic FC were able to pull out a 3-2 win over Rio Grande Valley FC last Saturday at Bonney Field. With the win, the Republic are in second place in the Western Conference and sit four points behind leaders Vancouver Whitecaps 2 with a game in hand. Here are three takeaways from last week’s win, one that extended the Republic’s unbeaten run to seven games.
Cameron Iwasa is on fire
It shouldn’t be news to anyone by now that Cameron Iwasa has been killing it recently. The 22 year-old striker has scored three goals in his last two games and is leading the team with five goals scored on the season.
His first goal, an absolute beauty scored just 38 seconds into the game, put him in the Republic history books with the fastest goal in team history. While it is no guarantee that the record will stand forever, it would take something truly spectacular for someone to take that particular honor away from Iwasa.
You know you want to see the goal again.
Iwasa’s brace last Saturday also makes him the fifth most prolific goal scorer in Republic history with six in league play and eight in all competitions.
And don’t think we’re the only ones that have noticed how well Iwasa has been doing, Republic legend Rodrigo Lopez has also caught wind of the Sacramento native’s exploits.
Yellow card trouble in the defense
With Chris Christian’s yellow card for dissent last Saturday, both he and fellow starting Republic center back Derek Foran are now just one card away from a one game suspension. Considering how often the pair seem to pick up cautions — one of them has been booked in eight of the Republic’s 13 games — it is likely that sooner or later we will be facing the prospect of a game without either Foran or Christian.
While that would not be too significant a concern if the team had a fully healthy roster, there are currently only two healthy center backs on the team: Christian and backup Mike da Fonte. As long as both Foran and youngster Carlos Rodriguez are out with injuries, there would be no natural center back to replace Christian if he were to get himself another card.
Let’s hope Foran and Rodriguez get fully recovered sooner than later.
Republic still can’t get away from those defensive mistakes
Although the defensive missteps last Saturday are not the worst that we have seen this season, they were another example of the Republic being too lackadaisical on defense in important moments. Republic head coach Paul Buckle had this to say about his team’s struggle to keep the ball out of the net against RGVFC.
The goals we conceded I wasn’t happy with at all. They were able to throw the ball directly into their striker’s feet. There has to be protection. Koval and Auggie are in there to protect that. There should be no clear line of pass through to their strikers.
We allowed them space, we allowed balls in and they punished us.
Going forward, the key for the Republic will be to minimize mistakes and continue to remain strong on defense.
What are your takeaways from the Republic’s win over RGVFC? Let us know in the comments below.