Sacramento Republic put on a show for the home fans in an entertaining 3-2 win over Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Papa Murphy’s Park on Saturday. The Quails broke both their scoreless and winless streaks with a strong, but not exactly dominant, performance.
Although Republic hoped to channel the momentum from its midweek US Open Cup win into a strong start, it was the visitors who got off on the front foot. Joey Calistri scored the opening goal of the match for the Roughnecks, finishing a well worked attack down the left wing.
Tonight’s match was the first time that Republic started off a league game with its new 3-5-2 and Tulsa’s goal exploited a weakness in the new formation. Former Republic midfielder, Joaquin Rivas, made the pass that started the attacking sequence.
Republic pressed forward after the game in search of an equalizer immediately after the goal. Elliott Hord created a decent chance for Harry Williams in the 17th minute, but the Prince of Quails was unable to make the most of it.
Although Republic were pressing hard for an equalizer, the team had a hard time putting together cohesive attacking moves for much of the opening half hour.
Things took a change for the better in the 29th minute when Republic captain Danny Barrera found the Republic an equalizer after a few lucky deflections.
Harry Williams was started off the sequence with an excellent dribble into the penalty area, taking on three Roughnecks defenders before hitting a quick pass in Sammy Ochoa’s direction. Ochoa didn’t get the best touch on the pass, but he managed to deflect it directly into Barrera’s path. The captain’s shot was a decent one and was helped into the net by a deflection off a Tulsa defender.
The goal officially ended Republic’s scoreless streak at 592 minutes — the longest that the team has ever had.
Apparently Barrera’s goal reminded Republic that scoring goals is pretty fun, because the team did it again just three minutes later to take the lead. This time Ochoa got in on the action, heading in a cross from James Kiffe at the near post.
Although Ochoa should deservedly get credit for the quality finish, the real star of the play was Kiffe. The wingback put on a vintage display, using his speed and technical ability to create the space needed to send the ball in to Ochoa.
Despite the goals, Republic was hardly dominant in the first half. Errant passes were far too common in the first 45 minutes and nearly every Republic player was guilty of one at some point. The Roughnecks put together quite a few dangerous attacks, many off of Republic turnovers.
Emrah Klimenta picked up Republic’s first yellow card of the match in the waning moment of the first half for a foul in the middle third of the field.
Republic nearly had a chance for a third goal in first half stoppage time with a counter-attack after Danny Barrera won possession at midfield with a strong individual performance. Unfortunately for the home team, Harry Williams put his shot over the bar and the last chance of the half from either team went out for a goal kick.
Half Time Stats
Sacramento Republic FC: 2 goals, 8 shots, 3 shots on target, 57% possession, 1 yellow card
Tulsa Roughnecks FC: 1 goal, 2 shots, 1 shot on target, 43% possession, 1 yellow card
The second half of the match started off with both teams pushing forward in an effort to set the tone.
Dominik Jakubek did well to stop a Roughnecks attack in the 48th minute, coming off his line to smother the ball at the top of the penalty area.
Paul Buckle made his first substitution of the match in the 57th minute, bringing on Trevin Caesar for Sammy Ochoa.
Caesar got himself involved right away, nearly getting himself a goal with his second touch. However, his attempted finish on an excellent ball from James Kiffe was not as solid as he would have liked.
The visitors came extremely close to scoring a second goal in the 61st minute with a shot from the goal scorer Calistri, but his shot rolled just wide of the post and out for a goal kick.
The Roughnecks caught a huge break in the 66th minute when Julius James was ruled to have handled the ball in the box, giving the visitors a penalty kick.
Tulsa captain Juan Pablo Caffa stepped up to take the penalty and buried it to give the visitors an equalizer.
Dominik Jakubek guessed the right way on the penalty but was unable to make the save.
Buckle went to his bench once again after the goal, bringing on Wilson Kneeshaw for Harry Williams in the 71st minute.
Republic took the lead for the second time in the match in the 74th minute thanks to Chris Christian getting his head on the end of a Barrera corner kick.
The goal was Christian’s first goal in a Republic uniform and the Republic’s first set piece goal of the season.
Caesar picked up Republic’s second yellow card of the match in the 77th minute with a harsh foul near the touchline.
Buckle made his third and final substitution of the night in the 79th minute, bringing on Tyler Blackwood for defender Julius James. Republic shifted back to a 4-4-1-1 formation with the substitution in an effort to help protect its lead.
Despite a few worrying moments, Republic was able to hold on for the final 10 minutes of the match and secure a well earned win.
Sacramento Republic FC: 3 goals, 16 shots, 8 shots on target, 52% possession, 3 offside, 3 yellow cards
Tulsa Roughnecks FC: 2 goals, 9 shots, 3 shots on target, 48% possession, 1 yellow card
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