SANDY, Utah - The malaise continues for Republic FC.
The Sacramento club concluded its three-game road stretch with a 2-0 loss against Real Monarchs on Saturday night. Goals from Daniel Haber and Sebastian Velasquez handed Republic its fifth loss of the season and extends the club’s winless streak to six games and its goal drought to 563 minutes.
The visitors started off shakily when just a minute into the match, Republic right back Emrah Klimenta lost sight of Max Lachowecki on the wing and allowed the Salt Lake City left back to dispossess him at the edge of the box. Thankfully for Sacramento, the defender’s cross was cleared from danger.
Tyler Blackwood had Republic’s first opportunity in the fifth minute, taking on three defenders and storming toward the Monarchs penalty box before being fouled just outside. However, Danny Barrera’s ensuing free kick went right into the arms of Monarchs goalkeeper Connor Sparrow.
In the ninth minute, Velasquez and Nick Besler combined in the Republic box to put Andrew Brody through on goal, but defender Julius James’ last-ditch tackle cleared the ball for a corner and kept the game scoreless.
A sequence of wayward passes around the quarter-hour mark highlighted Republic’s struggles to settle into the match. The home side was more than content to sit back and force Sacramento’s back line to either switch play or send overly ambitious long balls in search of Trevin Caesar, which yielded mixed results at best.
Republic had a great opportunity in the 26th minute after James Moberg fouled Caesar on the edge of the box, but Barrera shot his free kick straight into the Monarchs’ wall.
Real Monarchs finally broke the deadlock in the 39th minute through Daniel Haber. Lachoweki sent in a cross from the left wing that Chandler Hoffman chested down and fired at goal. His shot was saved by Evan Newton, but the rebound bounced off James’ head into the path of Haber who easily slotted into the open net.
Paul Buckle sought to address Republic’s lack of control in midfield at halftime and sent in Elliott Hord as a midfielder in place of Trevin Caesar.
However, before Republic could settle into the second half, Real Monarchs had a chance to double their lead in the opening minutes. Velasquez found Andrew Brody free on the right wing, who sent in a low cross to Hoffman, but the forward’s tame shot at goal was no problem for Newton.
Hord’s introduction briefly injected some life into the Republic midfield, his characteristic runs down the wing adding much-needed depth to their attack. In the 49th minute, he sent a cross into the box toward Blackwood that was cleared into the path of James Kiffe, but his shot was easily controlled by Sparrow.
Republic’s search for the equalizer, however, severely exposed them to the counter, which Monarchs happily exploited to double their lead in the 58th minute.
A clearance, following a Sacramento corner, bypassed the entire Republic midfield and was headed into the path of Velasquez who left Jeremy Hall in his wake as he rushed toward goal and calmly slotted past Newton.
The visitors attempted to respond and three minutes later, Sammy Ochoa nearly pulled one back for Republic after making a run into the box from the left wing and firing a low shot across goal that just went wide of the post.
Velasquez continued to trouble the Republic defense, weaving his way into the box in the 76th minute to initiate a sequence that ended with Brody firing a shot at goal that was saved by Newton.
In the dying moments of the match, Barrera played a low, diagonal corner kick to Agustin Cazarez, but his shot, as Republic’s hopes of a comeback, were way off target.
The loss drops Republic FC to ninth place in the Western Conference with 10 points. The club returns home next week to take on FC Anahuac in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday.
Final Stats and Lineup
Sacramento Republic FC Stats: 0 goals, 7 shots, 2 shots on target, 60.6% possession, 4 offsides, 2 yellow cards, 0 red cards
Real Monarchs Stats: 2 goals, 10 shots, 5 shots on target, 39.4% possession, 2 offsides, 4 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; Trevin Caesar and Sammy Ochoa
Republic Bench: Dominik Jakubek, Elliott Hord, Daniel Trickett-Smith, Christian Chaney, Gabe Gissie, Wilson Kneeshaw, Harry Williams
What’s your take on the club’s current woes? Let us know in the comments below.