Under the bright lights of a beautiful Sacramento evening at Papa Murphy’s Park, the Sacramento Republic FC and Rio Grande Valley FC Toros played to a 0-0 draw in front of another sellout crowd of 11,569 – the 33rd straight regular season United Soccer League sellout for the Republic. With the tie, the Republic picked up a point in league play and moved to 4-5-3 (15 points) on the season, while Rio Grande Valley FC moved to 4-3-2 (14 points).
The Republic started the match strong leading to several good opportunities in the first 15 minutes. Although the home side didn’t come away with anything to show for their effort, it was an encouraging sign for the Qualis, who have had a habit of starting games slow this season.
In the 20th minute, a long ball was sent in down the left side from a Rio Grande player to a streaking Jose Escalante. The play was broken up by Elliot Hord and Evan Newton in what ended up being a rough collision in the box involving all three players. All players would be fine.
In the 29th minute, the Republic would get their best chance of the first half. Ochoa gathered the ball in the middle of the field, quickly played it forward to a streaking Trevin Caesar, but unfortunately, Caesar could not gather it in to put a shot on goal. Had he been able to control it, he would have been in a one-on-one situation with Rio Grande Valley keeper Calle Brown.
Right before half, Tyler Blackwood sent a low-lining shot on goal that was cleared by a diving Brown to keep the score tied 0-0.
The Republic started the second half a little sluggish in comparison to the first half. It wasn’t until manager Paul Buckle subbed Christian Chaney and Wilson Kneeshaw in for Harry Williams and Trevin Caesar in the 75th minute that the pace of the match picked up for Republic.
The move to bring in Chaney almost immediately paid dividends for Buckle as in the 77th minute, James Kiffe brought a ball up the left side and sent a cross in the box. Chaney was there, but couldn’t quite get his head on it for the potential game-winner.
The Quails would have one more fantastic chance in the 78th minute when Blackwood hit a screamer of a shot on goal. Brown deflected the ball up in the air and Ochoa was there with a header that just sailed left of the goal. The match would end shortly thereafter in a 0-0 draw.
It was a cleanly played match for both sides. Unfortunately, the Republic couldn’t make the most of their chances against a stingy Rio Grande Valley team that has only conceded five goals all season. That said, the Republic are still unbeaten in their last five games, which is something the club can continue to build on when they face Reno 1868 FC next Saturday on the road.
They’ll need to be ready as you can bet Reno will be looking to even the score following their loss at Papa Murphy’s Park last week in U.S. Open Cup play.
Final Stats and Lineup
Sacramento Republic FC: 0 goals, 12 shots, 5 shots on target, 51.4 possession, 0 offside, 2 yellow cards.
Rio Grande Valley FC Toros: 0 goals, 7 shots, 2 shots on target, 48.6 possession, 2 offside, 0 yellow cards.
Republic lineup: Evan Newton; James Kiffe, Chris Christian, Jeremy Hall, Elliot Hord; Harry Williams (Out 74’), Augstin Cazarez, Danny Barrera, Tyler Blackwood; Trevin Caesar (Out 74’), Sammy Ochoa (Out 85’).
Republic bench: Dominik Jakubek, Julius James, Wilson Kneeshaw (In 74’), Gabe Gissie (In 85’), Lamin Suma, Adam Moffat, Christian Chaney (In 74’).