Coming into Saturday’s game against Portland Timbers 2, Sacramento Republic were looking to get back on track after two straight losses. Unfortunately for the Quails, that is not how the night went and T2 were the ones walking away with three points thanks to a 2-0 win.
A first half penalty gave the visitors the advantage, a second half defensive mistake from Republic was instrumental in cementing the lead. A solid defensive performance from T2 rounded out Republic’s rough night.
Things started off a bit chippy, with the first yellow card of the game coming just four minutes in. Timbers 2’s Rennico Clarke was the proud recipient.
Despite some decent chances in the opening minutes, much of the play in the first half hour was spend in the middle third of the field.
Republic had a nice chance in the 32nd minute off a well worked set piece, but the shot that the sequence of clever passes led to was cleared out by T2. The ensuing corner kick also came to nothing.
Republic dug themselves a hole in the 39th minute, when Jeremy Hall was judged to have taken down a Timbers player in the penalty area.
Reaction to the call was mixed. The players were predictably upset, as were many fans. Others seemed to agree with the referee’s decision.
While there is an argument to be made that it was on the softer side, Hall’s decision to kick out at the Timbers 2 player was a poor one. At worst it makes contact with the player’s leg and is undoubtedly a foul. At best it gives that player an excuse to go to ground and easily sell the penalty.
The ensuing penalty kick was converted by Villyan Bijev and put the visitors ahead.
With that goal in hand, T2 spent the final five minutes of the half waiting out the half time whistle. Despite the Republic’s best efforts, the score remained 1-0 in favor of the visitors when the half came to a close.
Half Time Stats
Sacramento Republic FC: 0 goals, 3 shots, 0 shots on target, 50% possession, 1 offside
Portland Timbers 2: 1 goal, 6 shots, 1 shot on target, 51% possession, 2 yellow cards
Republic came out of the locker room looking for an early equalizer, but were unable to get one.
The best early chances early on for the Quails came from talented feet of James Kiffe. Unfortunately, none of his quality service was not rewarded with a shot on goal.
Timbers 2 nearly doubled their lead in the 55th minute with a great shot off a direct free kick, but Evan Newton made a superb save to keep the Republic in the game.
Republic had a free kick of their own in the 61st minute after Jeremy Hall was shoved in the back above the T2 penalty area. Emrah Klimenta’s effort was a decent one, but it was saved by the T2 goalkeeper.
Paul Buckle made his first substitution of the match in the 62nd minute, bringing on Harry Williams for Trevin Caesar. Williams brought energy to the game immediately, nearly making his first touch of the game with his face just a minute after being brought on.
Kiffe created yet another opportunity for the Quails in the 67th minute with a low cross from the left side, but the ball was cleared away.
The visitors doubled their lead in the 68th minute after some communication from the Republic defense.
Chris Christian slowed up in an effort to allow Evan Newton to either pounce on or clear the ball, but he made an error in judgement and Newton’s was forced into a weak clearance. Victor Arboleda took control of the ball and with Newton out of position, had on
Buckle went to his bench for the second time in the 74th minute, bringing on Tyler Blackwood for Sammy Ochoa.
Republic nearly got a huge break in the 75th minute when T2’s Wade Hamilton mishandled a shot from Wilson Kneeshaw.
Unfortunately for the home team, though, Hamilton was able to recover from his mistake before the ball crossed the line.
Hamilton denied Republic once again in the 84th minute with a fantastic diving save to keep Daniel Trickett-Smith’s header out of the net.
The closing moments of the match were filled with repeated forays into the T2 defensive half by Republic. However, all that activity and intensity came to nothing as the visitors repulsed attack after attack.
The disappointment from both the fans and players was almost palpable as the referee blew the final whistle. Republic saw what is likely their easiest game in a while slip out of their grasp thanks to a few defensive missteps and a rock-solid defensive performance for by the visitors.
Next, Republic head out on the road once again to face Vancouver Whitecaps 2 at UBC Thunderbird Stadium next Saturday.
Final Stats and Lineup
Sacramento Republic FC: 0 goals, 13 shots, 4 shots on target, 54% possession, 2 offside, 1 yellow card.
Portland Timbers 2: 2 goals, 9 shots, 4 shots on target, 47% possession, 1 offside, 3 yellow cards.
Republic lineup: Evan Newton; Elliott Hord, Emrah Klimenta, Chris Christian, James Kiffe; Daniel Trickett-Smith, Jeremy Hall, Wilson Kneeshaw, Danny Barrera; Trevin Caesar (Out 62), Sammy Ochoa (Out 74).
Republic bench: Dominik Jakubek, Julius James, Agustin Cazarez, Harry Williams (In 62), Gabe Gissie, Lamin Suma, Tyler Blackwood (In 74).