An 83rd-minute goal from Mackenzie Pridham rescued Republic as they drew 3 -3 with Orange County Blues on Sunday evening. Despite taking the lead through a Mike da Fonte goal in the first half, Republic were forced to rally twice to come out of Anteater Stadium with a point in their 17th fixture of the USL season.
Republic were looking to bounce back from a streak-ending loss midweek and seemed poised to do so in the 16th minute when Danny Barrera’s lofted ball found Cameron Iwasa open on the right wing, but Iwasa’s meek shot went directly to Blues keeper Josh Cohen.
In the 20th minute, a stray pass in midfield by the Blues was intercepted by Republic left back James Kiffe who made a run down the center before laying the ball off to Iwasa whose powerful shot was parried away by Cohen for a corner kick. Republic opened the scoring from the resulting set piece when da Fonte volleyed his third goal in three games from a Barrera cross.
Despite the opening goal, the first half was mostly a physical affair with little in terms of clear-cut chances and ended with more fouls (21) than shots attempted (8).
Sacramento began the second half in search of their second and nearly found it in the 49th minute when Barrera placed a cross to Kiffe, but the left back headed straight to Cohen.
A minute later, Sacramento fans were left with a feeling of déjà vu when OC Blues defender Brenton Griffiths was fouled in the Republic penalty box and Didier Crettenand converted from the spot to level the scoring.
Republic tried to recover their lead and had their best chance to do so in the 69th minute through substitute Harry Williams. Almost immediately after Williams entered the field, some neat triangular passing in the box left him open in front of goal, but the Prince of Quails scuffed his shot harmlessly into the keeper’s hands.
In the 72nd minute, the Blues’ Trevin Caesar, who’d been a nuisance to the Republic defense all evening, finally had his breakthrough and put his team ahead 2-1; Ivan Mirkovic - a former Republic FC player - played an incisive through ball to Akwafei Ajeakwa on the left wing who sent a cross to the far post where Caesar beat Chris Christian’s mark and slotted past an outstretched Evan Newton.
Republic equalized in the 77th minute through another Barrera assist. The captain’s corner kick from the left was headed home by Cameron Iwasa to make it 2-2.
However, the tie score-line was short-lived. A minute later, da Fonte fouled Ajeakwa right outside the box and Crettenand stepped up again to blast a shot into the upper right corner of Newton’s goal, making it 3-2 with 10 minutes left.
In the 83rd minute, Republic equalized again thanks to substitutes Pridham and Max Alvarez. Alvarez’s cross from the left wing took a deflection in the box, which Pridham was able to half-volley past Cohen to salvage a point for the Indomitable Club.
In stoppage time, Republic defender da Fonte received his second yellow card of the night, which will keep him from seeing action against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on July 16th.
What are your reactions to the match? Are you satisfied with the point against OC? Sound off below.