Sacramento Republic FC steamrolled the Tulsa Roughnecks in a 4-0 win to finish out the 2016 USL Regular Season on Saturday night. First half goals from Mackenzie Pridham, Cameron Iwasa, and Danny Barrera started the game off right, while a 92nd minute goal by Harry Williams finished it with a bang.
Mackenzie Pridham started the scoring in the 10th minute, getting his head on the end of a great cross by James Kiffe.
Kiffe received the ball from Danny Barrera with room to run on the left side, then hit a perfectly placed cross right to the head of Pridham. The goal, Pridham’s third of the season, also earned Kiffe his fifth assist of the year.
Just eight minutes later, Cameron Iwasa doubled the Republic’s lead with his long-awaited 12th goal of the season.
Iwasa’s driven shot, which looked to be on target, caught a deflection off a Tulsa defender and found its way into the back of the net.
The goal, Iwasa’s 12th of the season, gave the Sacramento-native sole possession of the Republic’s single-season goal scoring record that was previously held by Thomas Stewart.
Danny Barrera put an exclamation point on the Republic’s first half dominance with an excellent free kick goal in the 35th minute.
The Republic captain made no mistake with his best scoring opportunity of the night and gave the Roughnecks goalkeeper no chance of getting to the ball. The goal was Barrera’s third of the season, capping off a fantastic 2016 regular season.
Republic saw out the remaining 10 minutes of the first half without any real incident or threat from the hosts. When the whistle blew, the Quails went into the locker room after their best first half of the season with a 3-0 lead.
Although the second half did not have the fireworks of the first, the Republic was still in control for most of it.
The Republic almost had another chance to score in the 55th minute, but the cross was cut out by an acrobatic move from a Tulsa defender.
Republic head coach Paul Buckle made his first substitution of the night in the 58th minute, bringing on Octavio Guzman for Pridham in an attempt to solidify the midfield and help the team protect their well-earned lead.
James Kiffe had another great move in the 64th minute, driving in to the Roughnecks penalty area, getting around two defenders, and earning a corner kick.
In a move to rest a key player for the upcoming playoff run, Buckle made another substitution in the 65th minute, bringing on youngster Daniel Trickett-Smith for Jeremy Hall.
In the 72nd minute, Buckle rested a key player once again, replacing key central midfielder JJ Koval with human victory cigar Alfonso Motagalvan.
Two minutes later, Buckle made a switch up top, bringing on Harry Williams, the Prince of Quials, for Cameron Iwasa, the Prince of Goals.
In the 78th minute, Buckle once again went to his bench, bringing on Wilson Kneeshaw for Danny Barrera.
Kneeshaw nearly made the big impact that Republic fans have come to expect from him in the 88th minute, but his shot went wide, his first off target shot of the season.
Where Kneeshaw failed, Williams succeeded in stoppage time. The 20 year-old mercilessly punished Tulsa for leaving him open with a goal in the 92nd minute.
The goal, Williams’s fourth of the year, put the nail in Tulsa’s coffin and was a fitting end to the Republic’s dominant victory.
With the win, Republic have guaranteed themselves a top two finish in the Western Conference and put themselves in a position to finish first. In order to finish at the top of the table, Ivan Mirkovic and the Orange County Blues need to either win or tie against Colorado Springs Switchbacks tonight.