Sacramento Republic FC returned to the road Saturday night to face Phoenix Rising FC, and came away with three points in an impressive 3-1 win against a hot Rising FC club. With the win, Republic FC improve to 7-2-3 (24 points), while Phoenix falls to 6-3-3 (21 points).
Republic Manager Simon Elliott would go with a familiar starting XI.
Tonight's @usbank starting XI vs @PHXRisingFC.— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) May 20, 2018
Watch live on KQCA My58, Estrella TV Sacramento or on ESPN+#PHXvSAC pic.twitter.com/QNWYO8oyl3
Republic FC would get on the board first in the 8th minute. Carlos Rodriguez sent a perfectly weighted ball down down the middle that Cameron Iwasa was able to collect, beat his defender and send a low right-footed ball that beat Rising FC keeper Zac Lubin.
Look at that pass from @Carlos_rdgz4 And @cam31iwasa just doing what he does best. #PHXvSAC pic.twitter.com/zKWM1IodBH— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) May 20, 2018
The Quails would strike again shortly thereafter. In the 21st minute, Villyan Bijev played a ball up on the right side to Jure Matjašič, who dribbled it deep into the Rising FC defensive third, and delivered a cross back to the middle that a streaking Bijev was able to collect and fire a shot on goal to extend the lead to 2-0.
Matjasic ➡️ @villbijev = goals #PHXvSAC pic.twitter.com/DfEGP67iaB— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) May 20, 2018
It would be the Josh Cohen show once again in the first 45 minutes, which included denying Didier Drogba on a penalty kick and Drogba a second time on a free kick just outside the box. The legend of Cohen only grew in that first half.
Rising FC came out in the second half the aggressors. 17 minutes in, that press would pay dividends. In the 62nd minute, substitute Chris Cortez would pull one back for Rising FC on what was a beautiful cross from forward Solomon Asante. Cohen would have no shot as Cortez easily banged it home.
The home side would continue to play high the remaining 30 minutes, but would leave them open for a counter attack, which is exactly what happened. In the 89th minute, substitute Wilson Kneeshaw, who had just come in, received the ball from Bijev in what became essentially a one-on-one opportunity against Lubin. The defense could not catch Kneeshaw, and he was able to slot it in to extend the Republic’s lead to 3-1.
The goal that clinched three points— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) May 20, 2018
Well done, @wilsonkneeshaw pic.twitter.com/zMq7Z0dYFg
For good measure, it was Cohen one last time stopping a free kick from Drogba in the 89th minute.
90'+ | JOSH COHEN STOP IT!!— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) May 20, 2018
Cohen with a phenomenal save on a Drogba free kick that looked destined for the top left right corner.
SAC 3 | PHX 1#PHXvSAC
The final whistle would blow shortly thereafter.
Republic FC return to USL action on May 29 when they head back out on the road against Real Monarchs SLC.