Sacramento Republic FC traveled to south Texas on Saturday to face off against Rio Grande Valley FC at the relatively new H-E-V Park. The Quails walked away with all three points thanks to a last gasp goal from Carlos Rodriguez, snatching victory from the jaws of stalemate.
Republic head coach Paul Buckle made some significant changes to the team’s starting XI once again.
Buckle made a total of six changes to the lineup from last week’s 2-2 draw with Colorado Springs Switchbacks, most notably Dominik Jakubek replacing Evan Newton and Jeremy Hall starting at central defense.
The home side had a good chance in the opening moments of the match, forcing the Republic defense to scramble in order to clear the danger.
It appeared that Republic had taken the lead in the 16th minute, but Sammy Ochoa was judged to have been in an offside position when he put the ball in the net.
Tyler Blackwood nearly finished off some excellent combination play with a goal in the 19th minute, but his shot deflected off the crossbar.
RGV’s Todd Wharton received the first yellow card of the game in the 33rd minute.
Matt Wiesenfarth and Emrah Klimenta made an attempt on goal each between the 37th and 38th minutes, but the RGV goalkeeper was able to make a pair of saves.
Republic’s Hayden Partain received the first yellow card for the visitors in the 40th minute.
Despite some decent attacking moves and a stout defensive performance by Republic, the team was unable to get a goal.
Half Time Stats
Sacramento Republic FC: 0 Goals , 10 Shots, 2 Shots on Target, 75% Passing Accuracy, 1 Yellow Card.
Rio Grande Valley FC: 0 Goals, 4 Shots, 0 Shots on Target, 77% Passing Accuracy, 1 Yellow Card.
The home team came out of the locker room with some more urgency in the second half, putting Republic’s defense under pressure in the opening minutes of the half.
The most significant of those opportunities came in the 47th minute, but thankfully it came to nothing.
Paul Buckle made his first substitution of the match in the 59th minute, bringing on Trevin Caesar for Wiesenfarth.
Republic’s Sammy Ochoa was denied a goal once again in the 64th minute. He finished a well worked attacking move that was capped off by a clever chipped pass from Villyan Bijev, but he was once again judged have been offside.
After a half in which they slowly built up momentum, RGVFC took the lead on a goal from Kyle Murphy in the 69th minute.
The goal came despite Republic generally having the better run of play and forced the Quails to chase the game.
The home team was unable to enjoy its lead for long, though, as Bijev scored his first Republic goal to equalize in the 72nd minute.
The back-to-back goals continued a recent trend in Republic games of goals coming in rapid succession.
RGV came extremely close to going up again in the 80th minute when Memo Rodriguez sent in a cross that would have been an easy tap in, but thankfully for Republic there was nobody to get on the end of it.
Buckle made his second substitution of the night in the 82nd minute, bringing on Peter McGlynn for the goalscorer Bijev.
Republic nearly took the lead in the 86th minute, but Caesar’s shot was saved.
RGV nearly scored a game winner in the last moments of stoppage time, but Jakubek made an excellent save to keep things tied at one each.
Buckle made his third and final substitution of the match in stoppage time, bringing on defender Carlos Rodriguez for Caesar in an attempt to strengthen the team’s set pieces.
Rodriguez proved Buckle correct by scoring a game winning goal less than a minute after coming on.
Rodriguez has always been one of Republic’s better players in set piece opportunities and he proved it again with the goal.
The final whistle blew less than a minute later, with Rodriguez’s goal the difference between a draw and a win.
With the victory, Republic snap its four game winless streak ahead of a four game home stand. The Quails will be in action again next Saturday, September 16, when they welcome LA Galaxy II to Papa Murphy’s Park.