In Sacramento Republic’s first match ever in San Antonio, the Quails could not break their scoring drought and once again found themselves on the losing side of a 0-1 score to first-place San Antonio FC. With the loss, the Republic move to 3-4-1 (10 points), while San Antonio remain unbeaten moving to 7-0-1 (22 points).
The Republic controlled much of the first half – both in terms of possession and chances on goal – but they also looked hungry to get a goal early. In the 15th minute, Danny Barrera took the Republic’s first corner of the game and hit a beautiful ball that slid through a dangerous area in the box that remarkably went untouched by either team.
The best chance for the Republic would come three minutes later when San Antonio turned the ball over at midfield, the ball was played up on the left side to a streaking Sammy Ochoa who got behind the defense, gathered the ball and hit a shot that was deflected by San Antonio goal keeper Diego Restrepo. Wilson Kneeshaw was there to collect the deflection, but he couldn’t quite get his foot on it and the ball was cleared out. It was an extremely unfortunate break for a team that has been struggling mightily to score goals of late.
The best chance for San Antonio came in stoppage time when a beautiful cross was sent in, but Rafa Castillo’s header went just high. The whistle was blown shortly thereafter and the teams headed to the locker room tied 0-0.
Sacramento came out in the second half much like they did in the first half creating solid chances in the 47th and 50th minute, but San Antonio quickly gained control of the match.
In the 51st minute, Evan Newton kept the game scoreless when he made a brilliant save on a one-on-one shot from Castillo. It was yet another recent example of Newton doing his part to keep the Republic in games.
San Antonio had another great chance on a set piece in the 55th minute. It was Castillo again sending a dangerous ball from near midfield, but Sebastien Ibeagha just missed wide on a well-struck header.
Republic Manager Paul Buckle would make his first substitution of the game in the 61st minute bringing in forward Trevin Caesar in for Daniel Trickett-Smith, in what was clearly a move to try and break the scoring drought. But it never materialized.
In the 64th minute, San Antonio would break the 0-0 tie when Julius James was called for a penalty in the box for a tackle on AJ Ajeakwa. Castillo stepped up for San Antonio and calmly slotted the penalty kick home for a 1-0 San Antonio advantage. At first glance, it appeared to be a soft call, but on review, it was probably the correct call.
The Republic would have one more solid chance in the 84th minute. A ball was sent in from Jeremy Hall at midfield, Klimenta headed it towards goal, but Ochoa couldn’t quite get his foot on it, and the ball scooted wide.
In the final moments, James Kiffe shoved a San Antonio player to the ground in frustration because San Antonio was wasting time, which led to a bit of a scrum between both teams at midfield. Kiffe would pick up a yellow card for the incident, but his frustration was probably more symptomatic of the entire team. A few more minutes played out and the final whistle was blown.
The Republic return to action Saturday, May 13 against the Real Monarchs SLC in their final road game of this current three-game road trip, where they will try and end a five game streak without scoring a goal.
Final Stats and Lineup
Sacramento Republic FC: 0 goals, 14 shots, 4 shots on target, 52.7% possession, 2 offside, 4 yellow cards.
San Antonio FC: 1 goal, 13 shots, 3 shots on target, 47.3% possession, 4 offside, 1 yellow cards.
Republic lineup: Evan Newton; James Kiffe, Chris Christian, Julius James, Emrah Klimenta; Daniel Trickett-Smith (Out 62), Jeremy Hall, Augstin Cazarez (Out 86), Danny Barrera; Wilson Kneeshaw (Out 81), Sammy Ochoa.
Republic bench: Dominik Jakubek, Gabe Gissie, Lamin Suma, Elliot Hord, Trevin Caesar (In 62), Tyler Blackwood (In 81), Harry Williams (In 86).