Despite a goal and some positive play in the second half, Republic suffered a disappointing loss to the visiting OKC Energy on Saturday night.
If you were to look into the nightmares of Republic head coach Paul Buckle, you might see something like the first 10 minutes of tonight’s match against OKC Energy.
For the second time in two games, Republic started the match by conceding a goal almost immediately after the start of the game.
However, the team did improve somewhat from last weekend’s match against LA Galaxy II. Instead of a USL league record 13 seconds, Republic lasted 45 seconds. That’s 3.5 times longer!
Things did not improve quickly for Republic, as the visitors doubled their lead in the ninth minute.
Republic goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek did well to keep OKC’s lead to just two goals with a save in the 21st minute.
Former Republic defender Mickey Daly went down with an injury in the 29th minute and had to be substituted off. Richard Dixon replaced him in the 33rd minute.
OKC continued to have much of the energy and the better run of play for most of the first half, but Republic did start putting some pressure on the visiting goalkeeper CJ Cochran.
However, they were unable to find a goal by the time the referee blew the whistle for half time.
Paul Buckle made hist first substitution of the night at the break, bringing on Elliott Hord for Matt Wiesenfarth.
Republic came out of the locker room with renewed energy and continued to pile on the pressure in search of a goal to halve OKC’s lead.
The team found one on a corner kick in the 59th minute thanks to Emrah Klimenta.
The goal was an excellently worked corner kick and featured two of the longest serving Republic players, Klimenta and James Kiffe. Kiffe served in a well struck ball in and Klimenta expertly redirected it into the net.
Buckle made his second substitution of the match in the 60th minute, bringing on Trevin Caesar for Sammy Ochoa
Kiffe and Klimenta connected on another corner in the 68th minute, but the OKC defense was able to repel the danger.
Buckle made his third and final substitution in the 77th minute, bringing on Harry Williams for Tyler Blackwood in an attempt to find an equalizer.
Unfortunately for Republic, OKC extended its lead in the 83rd minute and essentially put the game away.
Despite some chances in the match’s waning moments, including an open header in the box by Agustin Cazarez in stoppage time, Republic were unable to find a second goal.
The loss was Republic’s second of the year to OKC and ended the team’s three game unbeaten streak on a sour note.
There is no rest in store for Republic, however. The Quails have two matches next week, first on Wednesday at home against top of the West Real Monarchs and then away against Phoenix Rising on Saturday.
With any luck, tonight’s loss will galvanize the team into a better showing next week. Whether that happens remains to be seen.