The dreaded Wednesday match in the United Soccer League. It’s difficult to draw a crowd, especially in the early fall when school is back in session. It probably didn’t help that rain descended on Sacramento hours before kickoff (and rained most of the match). But for those that braved the elements, they were treated to a solid Republic win.
Republic FC Manager Simon Elliott went with the following starting XI against the visiting Swope Park Rangers.
Our starting XI vs @SwopeRangers ⚽️#SACvSPR | #VamosRepublic pic.twitter.com/P6tdJKjrer— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) October 4, 2018
Similar to Saturday night, Republic struck first. This time, in the 17th minute. After a poor clearance from Swope Park, midfielder Jeremy Hall headed the ball forward towards the box. Cameron Iwasa would lay it off nicely to Villyan Bijev who slotted it home for a 1-0 advantage.
.@villbijev opened up the scoreline tonight after connecting with a brilliant pass from Iwasa.— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) October 4, 2018
SAC 1 | 1 SPR#SACvSPR | #VamosRepublic pic.twitter.com/RBcD5e179z
In the 31st minute, Swope Park would level the match. Josh Cohen was able to block the initial shot on goal from Kharlton Belmar, but the rebound would fall right to former Republic FC forward Tyler Blackwood who lobbed it over Cohen.
Swope Park would muster together a couple more solid chances on goal before half, including one right at the 45 minute mark that was called off due to Swope being offsides. From about the 20 minute mark on, Swope Park was definitely the more dangerous side.
In the 58th minute, Republic would record their second goal of the night on what was a great sequence involving several players. It started with Elliott Hord who was able to keep the ball in play on the right side at midfield. He quickly played it forward to a streaking Luis Espino who dribbled it far to the end line and crossed it back to Iwasa who headed it home. It was Iwasa’s team-leading 16th goal of the season and second straight match he scored on a header.
1️⃣6️⃣ - Goals @cam31iwasa has scored this season— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) October 4, 2018
Iwasa is on
SAC 2 | 1 SPR#SACvSPR | #VamosRepublic pic.twitter.com/WX3tqvbNUy
In the 76th minute, substitute Jure Matjasic who had just entered the match 12 minutes prior, would add a third goal for the home side on a beautiful cross from Hord — the second-consecutive match one of his crosses would result in a goal.
The final whistle would blow shortly thereafter, and Republic FC would come away with a 3-1 victory. With the win, the Republic move to 17-7-8 (59 points), while Swope Park Rangers drop to 14-11-8 (40 points). The Republic alap got one step closer to locking up a home playoff match.
Republic return to action this Saturday, October 6 when the travel to Los Angeles to face LA Galaxy 2. The match is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30pm. It will be their third match in a week.
Final Stats and Lineup
Sacramento Republic FC: 3 goals, 16 shots, 6 shots on target, 44.3 possession, 0 corners, 4 offsides, 1 yellow card.
Swope Park Rangers: 1 goal, 20 shots, 9 shots on target, 55.7 possession, 7 corners, 1 offsides, 0 yellow cards.
Republic FC Lineup: Josh Cohen; Elliott Hord, Emrah Klimenta, Mitchell Taintor, Shannon Gomez; Luis Espino (OUT, 85’), Jeremy Hall, Hayden Partain (OUT, 85’), Villyan Bijev; Christian Eissele (OUT, 64’), Cameron Iwasa.
Republic FC Bench: Rafael Diaz, Keven Aleman (IN, 85’) Josh Turnley, Wilson Kneeshaw, Cole Seiler (IN, 85’), Jure Matjasic (IN, 64’), Carlos Rodriguez.