VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Sacramento Republic FC kicked off its second run of three consecutive road games this season with a 0-0 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at Thunderbird Stadium. The draw extends the club’s winless (and scoreless) streak to four games.
Wilson Kneeshaw had Republic’s first opportunity of the match in the sixth minute after receiving the ball in the box, but his quick shot went straight into the arms of Whitecaps goalkeeper Spencer Richey.
In the 12th minute, Whitecaps defender Dominick Zator headed over the Republic goal with Vancouver’s first real threat of the match from a David Norman Jr. corner kick.
A minute later, Sacramento had their best spell of chances in the first half. A lovely through ball in the Vancouver box from Danny Barrera put Tyler Blackwood one-on-one with Richey, but the Whitecaps FC 2 keeper did well to make himself big and block Blackwood’s attempt at goal.
In the 15th minute, Republic forward Sammy Ochoa received the ball on the right wing and fired a shot from the edge of the box that forced a finger-tip save from Richey.
Richey was called to action again a minute later when James Kiffe received a rebound at the edge of the box and fired a left-footed rocket that Richey was able to parry away.
Vancouver recovered its composure after this run of chances and sought to exploit the slow pace of Republic’s veteran backline, but the home side was unable to muster any shots on target in the first half.
The visiting team had one more opportunity right before half time when Blackwood received the ball on the left wing, ran at his defender in the box then fired a tame shot that Richey saved at his near post.
The half ended with Republic controlling 54.3% of possession and recording 5 shots on target to the Whitecaps 0.
The second half began much like the first ended, with Republic FC creating opportunities, but being unable to capitalize on them.
In the 57th minute, Barrera put Ochoa through on goal, and although he was able to place his shot around Richey, it went just wide of goal.
Vancouver responded in the 62nd minute with their first shot on target and their best opportunity of the match up to that point. Norman Jr. sent in a curling ball from the left wing into the path of the on-rushing Gloire Amanda, but his sliding effort was saved by Evan Newton.
Amanda had another go at goal in the 70th minute, taking a low, long-range shot that went just wide of the post.
Vancouver grew into the match, and a minute later, forced another point-blank save from Newton. Whitecaps FC 2 midfielder Andy Thoma recovered possession on the left wing and sent a dangerous, low cross into the box for Vancouver substitute Thomas Sanner, but like Amanda’s shot a few minutes prior, his attempt at goal was also saved by Newton at close range.
Sacramento regained the bulk of possession, and in the 77th minute, Kiffe decided to test Richey from distance with a long-range shot from midfield that the home keeper barely parried over the bar for a corner.
Republic FC head coach Paul Buckle sent in Harry Williams, Trevin Caesar and Lamin Suma onto the pitch in the closing stages of the match in search of the breakthrough goal, but was unable to find it.
The draw is Sacramento’s first of the season and brings the club to 10 points and third place in the Western Conference. Republic FC will back in action on Saturday, May 6, when they take on the undefeated San Antonio FC in Texas.
Final Stats and Lineup
Sacramento Republic FC Stats: 0 goals, 9 shots, 5 shots on target, 59.5% possession, 3 offsides, 2 yellow cards, 0 red cards
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 Stats: 0 goals, 7 shots, 2 shots on target, 40.5% possession, 3 offsides, 1 yellow cards, 0 red cards
Sacramento Republic FC Starting XI: Evan Newton; Emrah Klimenta, Julius James, Chris Christian, James Kiffe; Danny Barrera, Augustin Cazarez, Jeremy Hall, Tyler Blackwood; Wilson Kneeshaw and Sammy Ochoa
Republic Bench: Dominik Jakubek, Elliott Hord, Daniel Trickett-Smith, Trevin Caesar, Christian Chaney, Lamin Suma, Harry Williams
What were your thoughts on the match and the season thus far? Let us know in the comments section.