Sacramento Republic FC did it’s best tonight against a team they struggle playing against on the road. Although Orange County wasn’t a playoff team this previous season, they are not a team Sacramento took lightly. Orange County would continue to make life difficult for the Republic once again.
FIRST HALF SUMMARY
From the start, both teams could hardly get anything going as the referees allowed aggressive play, which resulted in sloppy possessions. Each team it seemed could only make two clean passes before turning it over. There were several instances in which a player would be fouled, but no whistle was blown.
(13’) Orange County took possession of the ball after the Republic spent some time on their side of the field. A great ball was passed to Orange County’s forward Michael Seaton, who was alone and behind the defense. Josh Cohen took a huge risk coming out of the goal to kick the ball away outside of the box, but Seaton got to it first, thus causing a horrifying open net situation. Fortunately, the Republic defense was able to get back to the net and defend it well enough for Cohen to rush back to the net and kick it out of bounds.
After more aggressive play and an early yellow card by midfielder Koji Hashimoto (18’), Orange County was able to get in an offensive groove and apply constant pressure on the Sacramento defense.
31’ Christian Duke of Orange County sent a perfect pass between two defenders to Thomas Enevoldsen who took a shot, but it ends up sailing high and above the outstretched arms of Cohen. This was followed up by a bad clear out and another attack by Orange County, but this time the shot was taken by Hashimoto, whose attempt ended up being soft and an easy scoop for Josh Cohen.
After what had been a dull first half, Sacramento and Orange County remained tied 0-0 as the 45’ whistle sounded.
HT | Republic FC 0, @orangecountysc 0— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) March 25, 2018
Chances on both ends but neither side can convert in the first 45 so we head into the break at nil-nil. All to do in the second half. #OCvSAC pic.twitter.com/t1ec4dfM3K
SECOND HALF SUMMARY
47’ The second half started off fast as Cameron Iwasa was able to provide some pressure on the offensive end. Iwasa was able to get a corner kick opportunity after an aggressive attack, but it was easily kicked away by Orange County. One minute later, Iwasa established position inside the box and received a deep pass. As the ball hit his chest and fell to his feet, he lost his balance and poked the ball out of bounce resulting in a goal kick.
52’ On the other end, Seaton continued to pressure the Republic back line with his attack, which finally rewarded him with a free kick from the left side of the box after a foul. Hashimoto was given the opportunity and took the low cross approach which proved to be dangerous. Cohen was able to recognize the situation and scooped the ball up inches before an Orange County player could poke the ball in the net.
56’ Minutes later, Hashimoto crossed the ball to Enevoldsen who stood in front of goal but Cohen put himself in great position in order to make an amazing save. Seconds later, Orange County had yet another attack, which was deflected AGAIN by Cohen. A flurry of attacks by Orange County ensued, but the Republic was able to get deflection after deflection, eventually leading to a clear-out and a sense of safety.
58' | COHEN AGAIN! The keeper is standing on his head to keep OC off the score sheet. What. A. Save. pic.twitter.com/b0C2h31gUr— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) March 25, 2018
65’ Iwasa would find himself one-on-one with an Orange County defender. Using his quickness, he juked the defender and took his run to the outside. He was then able to turn the corner, around the defender, and into the box. Without much room to wiggle, Iwasa curved the ball in between the goalie right post, thus making amazing goal in tight space — not much wider than an average sized person. Republic would take a 1-0 lead.
73’ Seaton would get behind the defense again and was given a beautiful pass which landed inside the box. Cohen rushed towards the ball as it floated down and snatched it just in time before Seaton got there. Unfortunately, both players collided and were tended to for quite some time after the play. After much deliberating, the referee made a shocking call and gave Seaton a red card after a play that was completely out of his control.
For the remaining of the match, Orange County would start to lose its composure resulting in several additional yellow cards and bad decisions. Despite being a full man up, the Republic played to protect its lead and held on to win the match 1-0. With the win, Sacramento starts the season undefeated at 2-0.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Without a doubt, Iwasa was the man of the match. Sacramento struggled to find any offensive rhythm throughout. The entire first half was a struggle and with a lack of pressure, something had to be done. In the second half, Iwasa took it upon himself to attack Orange County’s defense, thus leading to multiple corner kicks and an amazing goal. He took two shots; one on goal and he won four duels.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cohen made some pretty amazing saves this game. There were times where Orange County’s attack was so overwhelming, I wondered how on earth he was able to maintain his composure. It’s because of his efforts, and aggressive play, Sacramento was able to escape with a 1-0 win. He ended the game with four saves, no errors, one tackle, and one clear out. It’s safe to say our back line is lucky to have him.