In one of the warmest games I can remember in my four years covering the Sacramento Republic FC (95 degrees at game-time), the home side played as though they were completely unfazed by the heat en route to a convincing 6-2 victory over the visiting Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. With the win, the Republic pick up a critical three points and move to 6-6-3 (21 points), while the loss drops Rio Grande Valley to 5-6-2 (17 points).
The two teams previously met back on June 3 at Papa Murphy’s Park, which ended in a 0-0 tie. Rio Grande Valley has been rather stingy in conceding goals so far this season. In fact, it was only the second time that they had given up more than two goals going back to last season. The only other time was a 0-3 road loss to Reno 1868 on June 7.
The Republic jumped on Rio Grande Valley fast. In the 11th minute, Trevin Caesar dribbled the ball up the right side, sent the ball into the box, but Tyler Blackwood could not hit it cleanly and the ball went right to Rio Valley keeper Borja Angoitia. One could argue that Caesar should have given up the ball sooner, but it was good early chance nonetheless.
The Republic would get on the board in the 19th minute when Wilson Kneeshaw chipped the keeper on a beautiful through ball from Agustin Cazarez. It was Kneeshaw’s fourth goal of the season and Cazarez’s second assist to go along with one goal in USL play.
In the 27th minute, Tyler Blackwood collected a ball from Caesar and hammered it home for 2-0 Republic advantage.
Then in the 42nd minute, Caesar made a tremendous individual effort to chase down a ball that was cleared out of the backfield by Kneeshaw. He then alluded several defenders and hammered a shot home beyond the outstretched arms of Angoitia to put the Quails up 3-0. The Republic would take that halftime advantage to the locker room.
The second half got underway and things got a little wild, folks. Like, goals galore. Ready for this? Here we go.
In the 57 minute, Caesar hit a rocket of a shot to notch his second goal of the game to extend the Republic lead to 4-0. In the 64th minute, Rio Grande Valley would get on the board thanks to Robert Casner who made the most out of a set piece just outside the box.
Minutes later, in the 72nd minute, Ceasar struck again for the hat trick. He became the first Republic player to score three goals in a USL match since Tommy Stewart did it on August 17, 2014 against the Orange County Blues FC.
Daniel Trickett-Smith (substitute for Barrera in the 61st minute) would tack on the Republic’s sixth goal in the 87th minute. Kyle Murphy would add a goal for Rio Grande in the 90th minute, and the game ended shortly thereafter in a 6-2 Republic victory. The six goals tied a franchise record for most in a game (again, August 17, 2014 versus Orange County).
The Republic seem to have turned a corner over the last few weeks, losing only once over their last six (0-2 loss to Reno on June 10). They will look to continue their stellar play when they travel to Los Angeles to face the Galaxy II on June 25.
Final Stats and Lineup
Sacramento Republic FC: 6 goals, 14 shots, 10 shots on target, 45.5 possession, 0 offside, 3 yellow cards.
Rio Grande Valley FC Toros: 2 goals, 11 shots, 4 shots on target, 48.9 possession, 2 offside, 1 yellow cards.
Republic lineup: Evan Newton; James Kiffe, Chris Christian, Emrah Klimenta, Elliot Hord; Tyler Blackwood, Augstin Cazarez, Jeremy Hall, Danny Barrera (Out 61’); Wilson Kneeshaw (Out 86’), Trevin Caesar (Out 71’).
Republic bench: Dominik Jakubek, Peter McGlynn, Daniel Tricket-Smith (In 61’), Harry Williams, Gabe Gissie (In 78’), Sammy Ochoa, Christian Chaney (In 86’).