Sacramento Republic played against Seattle Sounders II tonight at home, which has been a real advantage for Sacramento due to their 5-0 record against Seattle all time at home. The night would be defined as a chippy one and despite the lack of wet grass, both teams decided to use the field as a Slip N Slide by slide tackling everything in site. And while tonight’s match was surrounded by the beauty of local art, tonight’s competitiveness between both teams were the complete opposite.
FIRST HALF SUMMARY
As the match started and both teams started the process of feeling each other’s play style and tactics, there was a feeling tonight’s match was going to be an offensive struggle and completely boring. That all changed when in the 20th minute, the Seattle Sounders II had a break away play. Seattle’s Forward, Felix Chenkam, was completely alone with only the goalie to stop him. When out of nowhere, Republic defender Mitchell Taintor, flew in from the right side and took a chance at a slide tackle to stop Seattle from scoring. Unfortunately, he missed the ball and slid into the forward’s ankles just outside of the box thus drawing a red card and a free kick. With the offense struggling and now with a man down, it seemed as if Sacramento was never going to get on track especially since this occurred so early in the match. This play would also define the remaining of the match as this would turn into futbol’s version of a slug-fest.
In the 32nd minute, after a series of chippy fouls, Villyan Bijev was able to draw a foul and a yellow card was given to the Seattle perpetrator, Rodrigue Ele.
Despite being down one player, Sacramento spent the remainder of the first half counter attacking. Lobs and quick passes to Wilson Kneeshaw and Shannon Gomez on the outside proved effective as he continually crossed the ball into the middle of Seattle’s box, thus providing pressure. In fact, in the 41st minute, one of Kneeshaw’s crosses was deflected and ended up in forward Cameron Iwasa’s possession and was able to make a legitimate shot attempt at the gold. Unfortunately, it skimmed the outside of of the post. These attacks never appeared truly threatening, but it kept Seattle in a position where they would have to continue to play defense and not just continually attack.
In the 44th minute, Sacramento tried one of it’s counters yet again as Keven Aleman dripped the ball down the middle of the field. He was met by two Seattle defenders and was tripped up aggressively. The referee stared the instigator down and issued a yellow card to no other than Seattle’s Ele, who already had a card under his belt, thus resulting in a red card.
As the first half came to an end, the score would remain tied at 0-0.
HT | Republic FC 0, @SoundersFC2 0— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) April 8, 2018
A colorful first half as both sides see red cards and are left with 10 men on the pitch but still no goals on either side. #PaintThePark x #SACvSEA pic.twitter.com/iOH3VZGGRR
SECOND HALF SUMMARY
With both teams tied in terms of score and amount of eligible players, Sacramento entered the second half with an attacking mindset while Seattle’s motive appeared to be to harm anything that moved.
After doing a solid job of attacking at the start of the first half, Seattle seemed to lose it’s composure for a while. However in the 54th minute, the Sounders II found an opportunity. After a foul on Jeremy Hall, the Sounders set up for a free kick which made contact with a Seattle player’s head and bounced akwardly high towards the goal. Cohen wouldn’t allow it and defelected it above the net giving the Sounders II another opportunity which resulted in another header that went too high.
With the game still tied at 0-0, Republic forward, Villyan Bijev, was close to putting Sacramento on top. He received the ball within the box and poked it ever so slightly, but it bounced of the post and out of bounds.
In the 64th minute, Seattle would continue its overly aggressive play. Bijev had been roughed up throughout the match but had been fighting through it. He took control of the ball but was slide tackled from behind by Seattle Defender, Denso Ulysse. The referee appeared to have enough of the rough style of play and immediately issued Ulysse a red card thus removing another eligible player for Seattle.
Four minutes later, Gomez was fed another pass to the outside. He was able to make a cut and get inside the box. Without a thought, a Seattle defender came in for a slide tackle, but completely missed the ball. Penalty and Sacramento’s best chance to take the lead.
After an array of altercations, delays, and immaturity by players dressed in neon green, Adam Moffat took the penalty, shot, and scored. Sacramento went up 1-0.
After several beatings and being knocked around, Sacramento’s first goal ironically came from the easiest situational goal possible; a penalty.
The remainder of the game featured hay-maker attempts by both teams. Despite missing two players, Seattle attacked hard and even came close on several occasions. Sacramento also decided that having one goal was not enough and would continue its attack with several shot attempts.
With the game coming to a close, the game would end on a messy, but exciting note. In the 90th minute, Seattle almost took advantage of its last opportunity. Seattle’s forward fought through what appeared to be the entire Sacramento defense and made it within five feet of the goal and Josh Cohen. With the whole net to work with, Seattle’s attacker took a swing at the ball. Josh Cohen would not give in as he made himself as big as possible and deflected the ball away for a huge clutch, game-sealing save.
The whistle would blow and the game would be over. Sacramento would leave the match after a physically hard fought game and a 1-0 win (Sacramento 1 Red; Seattle 2 Red).
Tonight, I couldn’t award just an offensive and defensive player of the match. There were quite a few players that stood out to me.
- Villyan Bijev - He was an absolute punching bag. The guy was being fouled throughout the match but kept on going. His ball control wasn’t great, but his aggressive mindset led to some real chances. He also helped provoke two red cards, which turned out to be vital towards tonight’s win.
- Shannon Gomez - Gomez is a defensive player, but his aggressiveness in offensive attacks really helped create pressure. His constant crosses and speed really made things uncomfortable for Seattle. He also managed to draw the biggest foul of the night which resulted in a penalty and Sacramento’s only goal.
- Josh Cohen - He fortunately didn’t have to make too many saves during the match, but when the game came to a close, he sealed the win with a miraculous save in the 90th minute. I find it difficult to say any of Sacramento’s recent goalies before Cohen would have made the save.
Tonight’s match was quite an interesting one, but fortunately Sacramento, they walked off the field with a win and all of the players came away healthy after a physically dangerous game.