The match got off to an energetic start, with both teams pushing forward and trying to take control of things early on. The opening 15 minutes were characterized by some intense, fairly physical play from both sides.
Republic were nearly able to take an early lead in just the second minute when James Kiffe nearly snuck a ball in to Trevin Caesar behind the Reno defense.
Caesar had the best chance of the opening moments from either team in the 11th minute. He chased down a nice pass from Tyler Blackwood, found his way into some space in the box, and hit a shot just wide of the post.
Republic captain Danny Barrera had an excellent shot from distance after getting possession of the ball near the top of the penalty area. He worked his way into space by cutting the ball away from his favored left foot and had a solid curling attempt with his right foot. Reno’s goalkeeper Klabough was able to make the save, though.
Not to be outdone, Agustin Cazarez had an effort of his own later in the same sequence, but Klabough was able to parry it away for a corner.
The second 15 minutes of the first half was just as exciting as the first. Both teams continued to press forward in search of the match’s first goal.
Republic had another chance in the 25th minute, but Ochoa was unable to get on the end of a Harry Williams cross.
The visitors had a good chance of their own in the 30th minute, but despite the close call it ultimately came to nothing.
Agustin Cazarez had another chance in the 32nd minute after Reno’s defense allowed him to waltz up to the edge of the penalty area. Unfortunately for the home team his shot went over the crossbar.
Chris Christian gifted Reno a good chance with a foul in a dangerous spot that led to a set piece that nearly resulted in a goal.
Sammy Ochoa earned Republic’s first yellow card of the match in the 37th minute for a harsh foul in the middle third of the field.
Harry Williams gave Republic the lead in the 41st minute, finishing off a well-worked team move with an excellent finish.
The play started along the back line, with Chris Christian coming up into the attacking third before hitting a pass to Caesar, who slipped a clever through ball to Harry Williams. Klabough came off his line to pressure Williams, but the Prince of Quails stayed calm and applied the finish.
Just a few minutes later, Evan Newton made a highlight reel caliber play on the other end with a superb save on a Reno free kick in the 43rd minute.
That Newton save sent Trevin Caesar and Tyler Blackwood on a vicious counter attack that ultimately came to nothing despite the danger.
Reno had the last chance of the half with yet another free kick, but the Republic defense was able to deal with it and retained its 1-0 lead heading into the locker rooms.
First Half Stats
Sacramento Republic FC: 1 goal, 9 shots, 6 shots on target, 58% possession, 1 yellow card
Reno 1868 FC: 0 goals, 6 shots, 3 shots on target, 42% possession, 1 offside, 1 yellow card
The second half began where the first left off, with some exciting play from both teams.
Sammy Ochoa and Trevin Caesar came extremely close to doubling Republic’s lead on a 54th minute counter attack. Caesar collected the ball near midfield and immediately broke towards the goal with Ochoa on his left. Caesar hit a well weighted pass to Ochoa and Republic’s leading goal scorer’s shot very nearly went in the back of the net.
The Caesar-Ochoa attack seemed to temporarily bust the game wide open and the next three minutes were characterized by nearly constant forward movement from both teams.
Caesar mercilessly punished a mistake from Reno’s back line to double Republic’s lead in the 58th minute.
Tyler Blackwood pounced on an errant pass from Reno’s defense and hit a pass right to Caesar’s feet. Caesar then simply took a touch and fired a rocket of a shot past Klabough and into the back of the net.
Caesar’s goal did not put the game away for Republic, however. If anything, it galvanized Reno into attacking even more.
Evan Newton came up huge for Republic again in the 61st minute when he made a nice diving save to parry away a powerful shot from a Reno attacker.
Reno’s Ian Russel went to his bench first, bringing on Anibal Echeverria for Dembakwi Yomba in the 62nd minute. He also brought on Cameron Vickers for Brent Richards.
Former Republic midfielder and Elk Grove native Matt Lagrassa was issued a yellow card in the 66th minute for a harsh foul on James Kiffe.
Evan Newton came up huge for Republic once again in the 72nd minute, pouncing on a ball in the box to put a stop to a threatening Reno attack.
Paul Buckle made his first substitution of the match in the 74th minute, bringing on Wilson Kneeshaw for Trevin Caesar, who had an excellent game.
Russel made his third and final substitution in the 77th minute, bringing on Seth Caspie for Jordan Murrell.
Tyler Blackwood put together an excellent display of individual skill with a slaloming run in the 79th minute that ended in a shot that was only just kept out of the net by Reno’s goalkeeper. The play was vintage Blackwood and the winger showed his skill as he surged past several Reno defenders.
Danny Barrera suffered a harsh —possibly card worthy — foul from a Reno defender in the 80th minute and stayed down for a few minutes. Barrera did get up and moving under his own power, though.
Buckle made a defensive-minded substitution in the 84th minute, bringing on Adam Moffat for Harry Williams. The substitution was absolutely the correct one to make, as Reno’s attacks were becoming more and more desperate.
Speaking of desperate, things got quite physical as the match wound down and Reno became more frustrated.
Despite those desperate attempts to get a goal back, Republic was able to hold on for the shutout win.
With the win, Republic now move on to host MLS’s Real Salt Lake in the Fourth Round of the US Open Cup on June 14 at Papa Murphy’s Park. It will be the third time that Republic will face off against MLS competition in USOC play, but only the first time against a team not called San Jose Earthquakes.
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