KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A 70th minute strike from Mark Anthony Gonzalez was enough for Swope Park Rangers to defeat Sacramento Republic FC 1-0 in a match with few chances for either side.
In the absence of the suspended Chris Christian, Republic FC were forced to play without any recognized centerbacks for a third time this season and were content to sit back and absorb pressure throughout the opening 45 minutes.
After an 8th minute corner kick from the home side, Republic FC made their first approach on the Swope Park Rangers’ goal with a Wilson Kneeshaw-led counter-attack that ended in the hands of Rangers goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra.
Sacramento had their first shot of the match in the 22nd minute, when Kneeshaw received a long ball into the box from Republic captain Danny Barrera and fired a shot at the Rangers near post that Dykstra was able to save.
Three minutes later, Swope Park Rangers nearly capitalized on a Republic defensive mistake to get on the score sheet. James Kiffe turned the ball over on the right wing and Rangers forward Robert Mirosavic whipped in a cross to Cameron Iwasa, but the former Republic player’s shot was deflected out for a corner.
In the 28th minute, Republic lead scorer Sammy Ochoa put a header on target off a lofted Elliott Hord cross that went straight to Dykstra’s hands.
Swope Park Rangers responded instantly with a piercing cross in front of goal from right back Carlton Storm that led to successive shots inside the Republic box, which the visiting defense struggled to clear.
The first 45 minutes ended 0-0 with the home side retaining 65.8 percent of possession, although both teams were even with two shots on target each.
Republic had their best scoring opportunity in the 54th minute, but were unable to strike it home. Hord swung a dangerous cross into the Rangers box that was deflected by Erik Palmer-Brown right into the feet of an unmarked Tyler Blackwood, but the British forward struck his shot well wide of goal.
Swope Park Rangers finally opened the scoring in the 70th minute through Mark Anthony Gonzalez. Rangers forward Kharlton Belmar burst past Kiffe on the right wing and sent a cross into the box that Dominik Jakubek parried away into the path of Gonzalez who didn’t waste his chance in front of goal.
Republic FC attempted to respond via the introductions of Trevin Caesar and Harry Williams, but it was the home side that nearly doubled their lead in the 84th minute after Kevin Oliveira sent a well-struck through ball from the left wing to Gonzalez in the Republic box, but an on-rushing Jakubek was able to block the forward’s path toward goal.
The visitors pushed numbers forward in the final minutes of the match, but were unable to create any clear-cut chances to salvage a point.
The loss is Sacramento’s second of the season, following their midweek defeat to a wonder goal from a different Gonzalez, and keeps them third in the Western Conference with nine points from five matches. Republic FC will be back home next week to take on Portland Timbers II at Papa Murphy’s Park.
Final Stats and Lineup
Sacramento Republic FC Stats: 0 goals, 11 shots, 2 shots on target, 40.9% possession, 1 offside, 0 yellow cards, 0 red cards
Swope Park Rangers Stats: 1 goals, 11 shots, 3 shots on target, 59.1% possession, 2 offside, 2 yellow cards, 0 red cards
Sacramento Republic FC Starting XI: Dominik Jakubek; Elliott Hord, Emrah Klimenta, Jeremy Hall, James Kiffe; Daniel Trickett-Smith, Adam Moffat, Danny Barrera, Tyler Blackwood; Wilson Kneeshaw and Sammy Ochoa
Republic Bench: Evan Newton, Julius James, Enrique Montano, Trevin Caesar, Gabe Gissie, Lamin Suma, Harry Williams
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