Sacramento Republic FC narrowly avoided a devastating loss on the road against Seattle Sounders 2 on Sunday. Only a last second goal from Tyler Blackwood salvaged a point for the Quails.
The opening ten minutes of the match were relatively calm, with no particularly exciting or panicked moments for either team.
The home team had the first opportunity of the match with a free kick in the seventh minute. Republic’s defense was able to comfortably deal with the service in, though, and the chance ultimately came to nothing.
Republic first half-chance of the match came in the ninth minute after an attack up the right wing. Sammy Ochoa pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area, but Republic’s leading scorer was unable to get a solid contact on the ball.
Trevin Caesar had Republic’s first solid scoring opportunity of the game in the 13th minute. The forward drove beat his marker with some quick movement on the ball before driving into the penalty area and going for goal. The shot was struck hard, but unfortunately for him it was too close to S2 goalkeeper Tyler Miller, who was able to make the save.
The play was similar to many that Caesar has been a part of in the past few games. He has worked his way into promising positions multiple times but has not been able to put anything away.
Agustin Cazarez created another chance for Republic in the 26th minute, pouncing on a loose ball in S2’s half and sending in a cross to a streaking Elliott Hord at the back post. Hord attempted a pass to Sammy Ochoa across the face of goal, but Miller snatched the pass before it reached the Republic forward.
S2’s Zach Mathers received the first yellow card of the match for an off the ball foul on Republic’s Danny Barrera in the 30th minute.
Sounders 2 had a good opportunity in the 38th minute on a cross from the right wing, but Ray Saari put his header over the crossbar.
Republic put together a promising attacking sequence down in the 41st minute when Barrera and Hord connected on the right side. Hord sent in a cross intended for Ochoa, but the S2 defense headed it away right to the feet of James Kiffe. Kiffe tried a shot with his first touch, but he did not connect well and it was saved easily by Miller.
Julius James received Republic’s first yellow card of the match for obstructing Miller after a corner kick just before the end of the first half.
Overall, the first half was fairly solid for both teams. Republic had the better chances and the run of play was mostly in their favor, but they were far from dominant.
First Half Stats
Sacramento Republic FC: 0 goals, 6 shots, 2 shots on target, 6 fouls, 1 yellow card, 61% possession, 84% passing accuracy (71.5% in S2’s half).
Seattle Sounders FC 2: 0 goals, 3 shots, 1 shot on target, 5 fouls, 1 yellow card, 39% possession, 74% passing accuracy (61 in Republic’s half).
Paul Buckle made his first substitution of the match during the break, bringing on Tyler Blackwood for Wilson Kneeshaw.
Both teams came out of the locker room with a bit more energy, with each looking to take an early advantage.
Republic’s first promising attack came in the 49th minute with a counter-attack. Tyler Blackwood received the ball near midfield and drove into S2’s half before hitting a nice through ball to Caesar, who was dispossessed.
Jeremy Hall picked up a yellow card for Republic in the 50th minute.
Blackwood nearly gave Republic its first goal of the match in the 50th minute after pouncing on a soft pass from a Sounders 2 defender. After intercepting the pass, Blackwood was in on goal with only Miller to beat, but the S2 keeper was once again able to make the save.
Republic was able to snatch its first goal of the match in the 59th minute thanks to a good finish from Trevin Caesar and a fantastic through ball from captain Danny Barrera.
Buckle went to his bench for the second time in the match in the 67th minute, bringing on Adam Moffat for Caesar. The substitution was a defensive-minded one, designed to help Republic protect its lead. With the substitution, Republic moved to a more traditional 4-4-1-1 with Moffat and Jeremy Hall in central midfield and Ochoa and Blackwood as the forward duo.
Chris Christian became the third Republic player to receive a yellow card in the 76th minute after shoving an S2 player.
Christian’s foul gave the home team a free kick in a dangerous area and S2 capitalized on it to score an equalizer in the 78th minute. Brian Nana-Sinkam got on the end of the service from Zach Mathers at the back post and hit a strong header past Jakubek and into the back of the net.
Neither Jakubek nor Sammy Ochoa covered themselves in glory on the play. Nana Sinkam was Ochoa’s man and he should have done better to keep tabs on him. For his part, Jakubek came off his line in an attempt to make a play on the cross, but he did so half-heartedly and in the wrong direction, effectively taking himself out of the play.
Paul Buckle made his third and final substitution of the match in the 84th minute, bringing on Daniel Trickett-Smith for Sammy Ochoa in an attempt to inject some energy into the Republic late on in the game.
Republic conceded yet another goal in the 86th minute off yet another header near the back post. David Olsen got the goal for Sounders 2, rising above Elliott Hord to direct Charles Bimbe-Renken’s cross into the back of the net. Although Hord did get beat on the play, a significant portion of the blame rests once again on Jakubek.
Just like he did on the equalizer, Jakubek came out way off his line to try and make a play on the cross. Also like the equalizer, he misjudged it and effectively took himself out of the play, giving Olsen a wide open net to aim for.
Fortunately for Republic, Tyler Blackwood came through in second half stoppage time with an equalizer to salvage a point out of what was a winnable game. Elliott Hord sent a hopeful cross into the box, which found Cazarez. Cazarez did well to pick out Blackwood and took a touch and calmly smashed the ball past Miller and into the back of the net.
The referee called the match to an end right after Blackwood’s goal, handing Republic a draw.
Despite the point on the road, Republic will likely be disappointed with the outcome of the match. This was a winnable game and the team looked on track to take all three points until a pair of poor defensive plays in the second half.
Republic’s next USL match is this weekend against Rio Grande Valley Toros at home. However, before that match, the Quails are in action at home against Reno 1868 FC in the Third Round of the 2017 US Open Cup.
Full Time Stats
Sacramento Republic FC: 2 goals, 13 shots, 6 shots on target, 11 fouls, 3 yellow card, 56% possession, 83% passing accuracy (70% in S2’s half).
Seattle Sounders FC 2: 2 goals, 10 shots, 4 shot on target, 7 fouls, 1 yellow card, 44% possession, 79% passing accuracy (69% in Republic’s half).