Sacramento Republic FC started the 2017 season off well with a 2-1 win over Seattle Sounders 2 at Starfire Sports Complex. Two of the Republic’s longest tenured players, James Kiffe and Emrah Klimenta, had the goals that led the Quails to victory.
The home team started the game off extremely well, putting the Republic under early pressure. That pressure paid off the S2 in the fifth minute with a goal on a set piece opportunity.
Jeremy Hall committed the foul that led to the set piece. The goal scorer, Brian Nana-Sinkam, was unmarked and made an easy finish into the back of the net.
However, after the initial 10 minutes characterized by intense S2 pressure, Republic started to assert themselves on the game.
Republic came close to snatching an equalizer with a quick attack in the 15th minute.
Tyler Blackwood collected the ball deep in the Republic’s own half, then drove into the S2 half. He sent a quick pass to Sammy Ochoa, who hit a through ball to Trevin Caesar at the top of the penalty area. Unfortunately for the Republic, Caesar’s shot went just wide.
Blackwood had a decent chance himself in the 19th minute with a shot from just outside the penalty area, but his shot went up and over the goal.
The Republic continued to put pressure on the home team as the first half progressed. Julius James had a chance to get an equalizer in a 27th minute corner kick, but his header went just over the crossbar.
Dominik Jakubek did well in the 37th minute, making a save to stop a Sounders 2 counter attack.
S2’s Francisco Narbón received the first yellow card of the game in the 39th minute.
As the first half wound down, the Republic redoubled its efforts to find an equalizer. Unfortunately, despite numerous chances, the team was unable to get a goal and the half ended 1-0 with the home team leading.
By the Numbers: First Half Stats
Sacramento Republic FC: 55% possession, 1 offside, 4 corners, 76% passing accuracy, 15 shots, 1 shot on target.
Seattle Sounders 2 FC: 1 goal, 45% possession, 2 offside, 1 corner, 76% passing accuracy, 8 shots, 2 shots on target.
The second half continued much like the first half, with the Republic taking control right out of the gate.
Paul Buckle made one substitution at the half, bringing on Emrah Klimenta for Julius James. He also brought on Wilson Kneeshaw for Trevin Caesar just after the start of the second half.
Republic had the first dangerous opportunity of the second half in the 52nd minute. However, S2’s Brian Merideth came up huge to preserve the home team’s lead.
Republic had another dangerous attacking chance in the 57th minute when Danny Barrera sent a beautiful long ball from midfield right into the stride of Blackwood. The pass put Blackwood in behind the S2 defense, but he was not able to make the most of the opportunity.
Sammy Ochoa received the Republic’s first yellow card of the match in the 61st minute for a professional foul at midfield.
The Republic finally got the equalizer they were looking for in the 66th minute thanks to James Kiffe.
Kiffe collected the ball near the top of the penalty area and hit a hard, low shot past Merideth and into the back of the net. The goal was the first of the Republic’s 2017 season and Kiffe’s second ever in USL play.
Republic nearly had another goal in the 70th minute with a fantastic shot by Adam Moffat. The ball bounced off one post into another, seemingly crossing the line in the process. But the referee did not see it that way.
Danny Barrera received a yellow card in the 71st minute.
Republic nearly had another goal in the 80th minute, but Merideth was able to knock the shot off course and snatch the ball up before it crossed the line. This time around there was no question that the ball did not cross the line.
Republic finally broke through in the 83rd minute after a barrage of shots on the Sounders 2 goal thanks to Emrah Klimenta.
Klimenta’s shot slipped below the diving Merideth, propelling the Republic into the lead.
Paul Buckle made his final substitution of the match in second-half stoppage time, bringing on Daniel Trickett-Smith for Sammy Ochoa to help see out the match and secure the three points.
Sacramento Republic FC Lineup (4-2-3-1): Dominik Jakubek; James Kiffe, Julius James (Out 45), Jeremy Hall, James Kiffe; Agustin Cazarez, Adam Moffat; Tyler Blackwood, Danny Barrera, Trevin Caesar (off 46); Sammy Ochoa (off 90+)
Republic Bench: Evan Newton, Emrah Klimenta (on 45), Enrique Montano, Daniel Trickett-Smith (on 90+), Gabe Gissie, Wilson Kneeshaw (on 46) , Harry Williams.
What are your thoughts on today’s Republic win? Sound off in the comments below!