Sacramento Republic FC came into tonight’s match against OKC Energy FC seeking their first ever point away from Bonney Field. Thankfully for the boys in Old Glory Red, they came away with all three points after James Kiffe’s late goal earned them a 1-0 win.
The play between the two teams was fairly even through the first 15 minutes of the match, with no real opportunities and most of the play happening in the middle third.
Republic midfielder Octavio Guzman provided the first dangerous chance of the match with a rocket of a shot from 30 yards out in the 16th minute.
The Republic had another opportunity just a minute later when the Danny Barrera-Mike da Fonte connection nearly struck once again on a corner kick. Da Fonte’s header was close but not close enough, hitting the post and bouncing out.
OKC got their first opportunity of the night in the 32nd minute when Daniel Konig got into a dangerous position in the box, but fortunately for Evan Newton and the Republic defense, he skied the shot attempt.
Barrera’s 40th minute shot from outside the box was the last real dangerous chance of the half in the 40th minute. The rest of the half went by without much in the way of excitement.
The second half began with a quick Republic attack from Joaquin Rivas and Cameron Iwasa, but the latter’s shot did not find the back of the net despite getting get up well by Rivas.
Paul Buckle made his first substitution of the match in the 55th minute, bringing on midfielder Matt LaGrassa for forward Harry Williams.
Buckle then made his second sub of the match in the 65th minute, bringing in forward Mackenzie Pridham for winger Joaquin Rivas. Tonight’s match was the first time this season that Rivas made an appearance outside of the back line and he reminded everyone how well suited he is to a wide midfield role with his good performance.
Matt LaGrassa, recently back from his loan with Tulsa Roughnecks, justified Buckle’s decision to bring him in around the 73rd minute when he blocked an Energy shot in the box.
In a frustrating turn of events around the 80th minute, the stream of the game, which all fans who did not make the trek to Oklahoma were watching, cut out. It was the second time in just four days that an away stream failed.
Fortunately for Republic fans, the failure did not last forever and the stream was back up after little over five minutes. Unfortunately, Republic fullback James Kiffe chose those exact five minutes to score the game winner. While we were unable to watch the goal live, we are fortunate to have it in gif form.
With a lead now secured, Paul Buckle set to protecting it by bringing on Alfonso Motagalvan for Danny Barrera.
Now down a goal, OKC attacked with renewed energy, forcing the Republic defense to earn their pay with some quality defending. The most spectacular bit of defensive work came from Chris Christian, who made an inch perfect tackle inside the penalty area in the 88th minute to preserve the lead without giving up a penalty.
If the league awarded a Tackle of the Week award, that one would get my vote for sure.
Republic held on through four minutes of stoppage time to the final whistle, celebrating their first win in five games to a chorus of angry Energy fans. Tonight’s win not only broke the Republic’s winless streak, it broke OKC’s nine-game unbeaten streak as well.
With tonight’s win, Republic end their five game road trip with five points earned, a respectable one point per game. Next up the team heads back to Bonney Field to face off against San Antonio FC this Saturday.
What are your thoughts on tonight’s win? Sound off in the comments below.