Sacramento Republic FC earned a crucial three points in a sparsely attended 1-0 win over Orange County Blues at Anteater Stadium on Wednesday. Cameron Iwasa’s spectacular goal livened up what was an otherwise mediocre 90 minutes.
The first half was played mostly in the middle third of the field, with some good back and forth action, but no clear cut opportunities for either team. For the first 20 minutes, the highlight of the match was the match poster that @Jeremy_Nash made prior to kick off.
Best appreciated while listening to The Ride of the Valkyries.
The Quails fly south for three points! #SACVOC #COYQ pic.twitter.com/MH6wIKSXs2— Jeremy (@Jeremy_Nash) August 25, 2016
The first dangerous opportunity for either team came in the 28th minute with a good team move by the Republic, but the cross just missed JJ Koval.
The home team had a good attacking move going in the 42nd minute, but it was snuffed out by a clearance from Chris Christian.
The very best chance of the first half was Matt LaGrassa’s shot from outside the box in the 45th minute. LaGrassa recieved the ball from Tommy Thompson near the top of the penalty area, took a touch to get free from his defender, and fired a hard shot that was headed to the top corner of the net before being saved by OCB goalkeeper Josh Cohen.
The Story at Halftime
Sacramento Republic FC: 0 goals, 5 shots, 3 shots on target, 1 corner kick, 3 fouls, 1 yellow card.
Orange County Blues FC: 0 goals. 1 shot, 0 shots on goal, 3 corner kicks, 8 fouls, 2 yellow cards.
The start of the second half was mostly a carbon copy of the first, with most of the play in the middle third and no real scoring chances from either side. The two teams traded momentum, but neither could find the back of the net.
Then, after 76 minutes of scoreless soccer, Republic leading goal scorer, Cameron Iwasa, took matters into his own hands and scored a splendid individual goal to give the Republic the lead.
Iwasa started the play by collecting a loose ball near the touch line, then got past two OC Blues defenders before finding himself in open space. With no Blues players coming to pressure him, Iwasa wound up and fired a powerful, beautifully placed shot past Cohen and right into the bottom corner of the net.
With that goal, his 11th of the season, Iwasa is now tied with Thomas Stewart for the most goals scored by a Republic player in a single season.
Paul Buckle used all five of his allotted substitutions against OCB. The most noteworthy came in the 86th minute when Tommy Thompson made way for the Republic’s newest signing, UC Davis alum and defender, Elliott Hord. Hord did well to help the Republic defend their lead and earn his first of many three points while wearing the Old Glory Red.
Although the most exciting moment of the match belonged without a doubt to Iwasa, the last significant action was Evan Newton’s. The Republic goalkeeper made a pair of excellent saves in second-half stoppage time to deny the Blues in a late push for an equalizer.
The final whistle blew shortly after Newton’s saves, giving Republic a huge 1-0 win on the road against the Blues. With the win, Republic are now all alone atop the Western Conference with 43 points in 25 games, three points above second-place Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
Republic have another shot at three points this Saturday when they host third-place Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at Bonney Field. Kickoff is at 8pm PT and will be streamed live on YouTube, as always.
Sacramento Republic FC: 1 goal, 8 shots, 5 shots on goal, 2 corner kicks, 7 fouls, 1 yellow card
Orange County Blues FC: 0 goals, 5 shots, 4 shots on goal, 4 corner kicks, 13 fouls, 3 yellow cards
What are your thoughts about tonight’s win over OC Blues? How great was that Cameron Iwasa goal? Sound off in the comments below.