A stoppage time penalty from Octavio Guzman salvaged a point for Republic in what was a forgettable performance in the team’s return to Bonney Field. Republic was looking for their first home win since their victory over Seattle Sounders 2 on July 2nd but ultimately had to settle for a point.
Republic had the first opportunity of the match in the 7th minute when Cameron Iwasa broke through the San Antonio FC defense, but visiting goalkeeper Josh Ford came off his line well to block.
The Texan side responded in the 14th minute through left back Greg Cochrane, who made a great run down the left flank and sent a deadly cross in to the box, but Sebastian Thuriere’s header’s went wide.
However, San Antonio opened the scoring a minute later after a Republic turnover by 19-year-old defender Carlos Rodriguez led to a shot from Thuriere. Republic keeper Evan Newton made the initial save, but Cesar Elizondo was there to slot home the rebound for the visitors.
In the 19th minute, Republic’s Danny Barrera sent a left-footed cross into the box from the right wing, but Mike da Fonte’s header was off-target.
San Antonio’s veteran Rafa Castillo then tested Newton from distance, but the Virginia native controlled the shot well.
Republic had another opportunity in the 30th minute when Tommy Thompson sent a low cross into the box from the right wing, but Iwasa shot over the bar.
San Antonio held its ground and did a great job of stifling the Republic midfield throughout the game, especially in the first half, preventing the home team from finding much space in the visitor’s backline. San Antonio would press up and force Republic to pass back to Newton often or opt for long aerial balls that would result in turnovers.
In the 38th minute, da Fonte had Republic’s best chance of the first half to equalize. Thompson sent a perfectly weighted ball into the box and da Fonte headed home, but Ford made a great reflexive save on the goal line to preserve San Antonio’s lead.
The half ended 0-1 to San Antonio and Republic Head Coach Paul Buckle made adjustments, bringing on Matt LaGrassa for Rodriguez, sliding Guzman to right back and da Fonte to center back in the process.
In typical Republic fashion, the home side started the second half with more attacking intent and left back James Kiffe nearly equalized with a long-range shot in the 55th minute that Ford parried away.
A minute later, it was LaGrassa who tried his luck from distance, but his shot was weak and easily saved by Ford.
Kiffe the nearly doubled San Antonio’s lead inadvertently in the 60th minute when a Castillo shot deflected off the defender into the near post and out of bounds.
Mackenzie Pridham’s introduction in the 63rd minute gave Republic’s offense a much-needed spark, but the newfound momentum was cut short when San Antonio’s Milton Palacios went down with an injury in the 74th minute and had to be stretchered off the field.
The game turned physical during the final quarter hour with several bookings issued, one of which went to Kiffe, who will now miss the next match due to yellow card accumulation.
As the game entered stoppage time (8 minutes), Republic turned up the intensity in search of the equalizer and were rewarded for their efforts. Three minutes in, Kiffe made a run into the box to receive a Guzman cross and was pulled down by Max Gunderson. Guzman stepped up to equalize and score his first goal of the season, which rescued a point for his side.
The draw keeps Republic in third place in the Western Conference, three points short of leaders Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
The Indomitable Club will go on the road again next week to take on St. Louis FC on August 13th.
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