After what has been a very long and stressful off-season, Sacramento Republic finally played its first preseason match of the season against the MLS club: Seattle Sounders. Even though SRFC made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs during the 2017 campaign, Sacramento is coming into this season with 7 starters who weren’t on the team last year. This resulted in a predictable loss (3-1) as the lack of chemistry caused much confusion against a superior team. Entering today’s match against LAFC, Sacramento looked to rebound during the 2nd game of the preseason hoping to get on the right track before the regular season starts.
Before either team took the field, both cities represented the city rivalry well. Both the LAFC support group, 3252, and the Tower Bridge Battalion attempted to outdo each other. It was reminiscent of the Lakers v Kings game the night before when the crowd was overwhelmed by LA supporters and their chants. Fortunately, just before kickoff, the Sacramento fans took the atmosphere back.
The game started off slow but eventually in the 4’ a free kick was taken by LAFC Marcus Urena, but the shot was deflected slightly causing it to miss wide right. After passing in, LAFC had a a great opportunity in the middle of the box, but it was easily scooped up by Goalkeeper, Josh Cohen. After a stagnant start to the match, the 13’ was the start of an offensive struggle as a great opportunity for SRFC arose as Kneeshaw weaved through the box and made a little chip pass to Eissele who was 5 feet from the goal. He was hardly able to get a piece of it as the ball fell right to the feet of LAFC’s goalie, Tyler MIller, who then kicked it away. In the 15’, SRFC turned the ball over which resulted in a great run by LAFC, who found themselves one on one with Cohen who was able to make a great save. There were several occurrences such as this where Cohen would find himself fighting for his life. During the remainder of the half, Cohen would be the biggest reason why no goals were made in the first half. Sac Republic would have a couple opportunities as well. In the 25’, Iwasa had the ball float his way at the top of the box which led to an attempted volley. The ball was hit hard but sailed over the net. In the 30’, SRFC countered after a poor cross attempt by LAFC. Iwasa made a great cross on the ground to a wide open Eissele, but he was unable to capitalize. He lunged for the ball resulting in the shot having no power. Tyler Miller, the goalie for LAFC, was able to retrieve it after bobbling it a couple times while being on the ground.
First Half Summary:
Both teams started the game cold. Ugly passes and lack of offensive excitement. There was one free kick by LAFC, but it was never a threat to go in. Once the 13’ mark started, everything picked up. LAFC showed why they were the better team by making easy passes, hit the open man, and created several opportunities for shot attempts. Whenever Sacramento made a poor pass, or missed an opportunity at a free kick or corner, LAFC came back with a quick counter resulting in several missed open goals. Eventually, SRFC was able to fight back and create a couple opportunities of their own. Both teams suffered from missing wide open nets, but the stars of the game have been the goalies of both teams. Despite the constant attacking on both ends, the score remains 0-0.
47’ Not far into the second half, LAFC gets a free kick that sailed high enough for Cohen to snatch out of the air and into his belly. Soon after in the 52’, LAFC had it’s best chance of the afternoon up until this point. LAFC player found himself one on one with Cohen who knocked it away, but caused him to be out of position. LAFC would then get two consecutive rebounds leading to shots that were blocked by SRFC backline players, all without Cohen defending the net. Eventually Sac Republic was able to clear the ball, providing the team with some level of comfort and relief.
60’ After 13 minutes of poor possession and bad cross attempts, LAFC would finally get what has eluded them the entire afternoon. An LAFC midfielder would pass back to midfield to the LAFC Left Back, Joao Moutihno, who would then run straight without any sort of interference. Partain of SRFC would cross his face but appeared to ignore the fact that Moutinho had the ball inside the box. Moutinho would then strike the ball. An awkward bounce would cause Choen to mishandle the ball as it squirted its way to the back of the net. 1-0 LAFC.
64’ At his point, SRFC started to put in all of the subs for the remainder of the game. Although there was plenty of time left in the match, it appeared SRFC took the approach to give their youth more experience rather than try to win an expedition match. The team played a little lost and the intensity cooled down quite a bit. After that, both teams played more relaxed and appeared were in a less competitive state of mind.
The remainder of the match would consist of LAFC running down the the SRFC net and attempting several corners or crosses. At one point, Moutinho of LAFC almost scored again after a header went a couple inches too far to the left. Backup goalkeeper, Diaz, was able to make a couple saves and appeared to be coaching up his youthful back line.
Sadly, there would be no happy ending as SRFC falls to LAFC 1-0.