While the 2-2 scoreline of Sacramento Republic FC’s first game of the year at Bonney Field left some fans disappointed, the game itself was not short on excitement. Two second half goals, one from James Kiffe and another from Wilson Kneeshaw, were the highlights of the day for the Republic
Trevin Caesar threatened the FCC box first in the fifth minute, but former Republic defender Harrison Delbridge was there to deal with the situation, but was forced to concede a corner.
Neither team was completely in control of the game through the first 10 minutes, but the Republic were able to put together a few good attacking moves.
The Republic forced FCC into a bit of a panic in the 13th minute with some sustained possession near the top of the visitors’ penalty area, but it ultimately came to nothing.
The first dangerous chance for the visitors came in the 16th minute, with a corner kick that forced Evan Newton to come off his line and punch the ball away.
Republic had a great chance early on when Trevin Caesar used his speed to collect a ball over the top and get behind the FCC back line. He then dropped the ball back to Sammy Ochoa at the top of the penalty area, but — unfortunately for the home team — Ochoa did not get solid contact on Caesar’s pass.
FC Cincinnati were gifted a fantastic chance to take the lead in the 20th minute when Harrison Delbridge earned a penalty.
Aodhan Quinn converted the penalty to put the visitors in the lead.
The goal injected some energy into both teams and shifted the momentum temporarily in favor of the visitors.
Republic had a chance to make something happen in the 30th minute with a counter attack. Adam Moffatt threaded a pass through the FCC defense for the streaking Tyler Blackwood on the left wing, but Blackwood was unable to get on the end of it and make something happen.
Jeremy Hall had a decent shot from outside the box in the 35th minute, but FCC’s Mitch Hildebrandt made the save to keep things level.
Hildebrandt came up big for FCC again in the 42nd minute, saving a Tyler Blackwood shot bound for the corner of the net.
Trevin Caesar had a fantastic opportunity to get the Republic an equalizer in the 45th minute when he got in behind the FCC defense with only Hildebrandt to beat, but skied his shot.
Caesar’s shot was the last real chance of the first half for either team. Things got chippy as the half drew to a close and Sammy Ochoa was shown a yellow card.
Sacramento Republic: 0 goals, 5 shots, 4 shots on goal, 2 corners, 1 yellow card, 0 red cards.
FC Cincinnati: 1 goal, 2 shots, 1 shot on goal, 1 corner, 0 yellow cards, 0 red cards.
Paul Buckle made just one substitute at the half, bringing on Dominik Jakubek for Evan Newton.
Republic came out in the beginning of the second half on the front foot, keeping the ball in FC Cincinnati’s half for the first five minutes. Their first chances of the half came on a pair of corner kicks that ended up coming to nothing.
FC Cincinnati had a threatening moment in the 58th minute, but trialist Julius James did well to break it up.
James Kiffe gave the Republic its long sought after equalizer with well-taken goal in the 65th minute. Kiffe started the play by dispossessing an FCC player, then finished it by collecting a pass by Trevin Caesar and firing the ball past Hildebrandt.
Paul Buckle made his first non-goalkeeper substitutes after the goal in the 66th minute, bringing on Daniel Trickett-Smith, Harry Williams, and Wilson Kneeshaw for Trevin Caesar, Tyler Blackwood, and Sammy Ochoa.
Another substitution happened in the 70th minute with Alex Davey coming off and being replaced by midfielder Agustin Cazarez. Jeremy Hall moved to the back line to partner with Julius James.
Harry Williams and Wilson Kneeshaw combined for the Republic’s second goal of the night in the 82nd minute. Williams hit a hard shot that was knocked away by Hildebrandt right to the waiting Kneeshaw, recently termed The Arden Archer, who pounced on the rebound.
However, FC Cincinnati would not be defeated so easily. The visitors got an equalizer courtesy of former Republic defender Harrison Delbridge in the final moments of the match.
The late equalizer was a bit of a gut punch late and it noticeably dampened the mood in Bonney Field’s stands.
The final whistle sounded just moments after FCC got their equalizer, bringing the first Bonney Field match of the year to a close.
Overall, a 2-2 draw is a fair result, but one that Republic fans will be slightly disappointed by. The team dominated much of the second half, but ultimately fell apart at a crucial moment late in the game.
The Republic move on to face Reno 1868 FC at Greater Nevada Field next Saturday.
What do you think about tonight’s result? Sound off in the comments below!