Sacramento Republic headed up to apparent rivals Reno 1868 for the final match of the 2017 USL Regular Season. A brace from Sammy Ochoa helped lead Republic to a 2-2 draw, finishing the season out relatively strong.
Reno came close to taking an early lead in the 13th minute, but the home side did not capitalize on a dangerous breakaway.
Sammy Ochoa gave Republic the lead in the 16th minute with a well placed header off a cross from James Kiffe.
Kiffe received the ball on the left wing after a well struck switch from Emrah Klimenta. The left back then swung in an expertly aimed cross that found Ochoa, who had broken away from his defender and was relatively open in the box.
Elliott Hord, recently back in the lineup, did well to quell a bit of danger from Reno in the 25th minute.
In the 35th minute, Republic goalkeeper Evan Newton made two great saves. The first was on a hard shot from distance, while the second was on a header from the middle of the penalty area.
Reno was able to get themselves an equalizer late in the first half. Chris Wehan’s 41st minute goal brought things back to even footing.
The goal came on the heels of multiple Reno attacks that had been pushed away by Republic, but the defense was undone by the home team’s quick passing this time.
Both teams finished the half relatively strong and neither side was likely too disappointed to end the half even at one goal apiece.
The home side did not wait terribly long to get back to the scoring in the second half. Antoine Hoppenot scored his 12th goal of the year to give Reno a 2-1 lead in the 50th minute.
Newton saved the initial shot attempt, but Hoppenot pounced on the rebound.
Paul Buckle made his first substitution of the night in the 57th minute, bringing on Wilson Kneeshaw for Tyler Blackwood.
Ochoa came up huge for Republic once again in the 67th minute, scoring an equalizer off a cross from Kneeshaw.
The attack was started by Klimenta, who hit a great ball over the top of the Reno defense for Kneehsaw to run on to. The substitute then found Ochoa at the back post for a tap in.
Buckle’s final substitutions of the night came in the 79th and 89th minutes. In the 79th minute, Carlos Rodriguez replaced Chris Christian. In the 89th, Roberto Hategan came on for Hayden Partain.
Ochoa’s 67th minute goal ended up being the difference maker for Republic, as the match ended in a 2-2 draw after four minutes of stoppage time.
The exciting draw ended Republic’s regular season on a relatively decent note. However, the season is not over yet for the Quails. With the regular season over, the team now moves on to the playoffs.