Sacramento Republic FC went to Portland Wednesday night hoping to keep their undefeated record (4-0-3) alive. Although Sacramento had yet to lose a game, they have also struggled mightily on the road winning only one game out of three attempts (1-0-2). They have also been developing a poor habit in recent games by allowing early goals and scoring late in matches to come away with a tie. As Wednesday’s match came to an end, so to would their undefeated record.
FIRST HALF SUMMARY
Ten minutes into the first half, it looked like Sacramento would be the aggressors early on in the match as Villyan Bijev delivered a nice through ball to Jure Matjasic who would then pass back to Bijev who stood all alone in the middle of the box. Maybe being so open was too good to be ture, as Bijev would shank the opportunity at an easy goal as the ball sailed over the net. Sadly, this would become Sacramento’s best chance at a goal for the night.
The horrible trend of allowing early goals continued as Timbers II made the first goal of the game in the 16th minute. After allowing a free kick for Portland, the ball arced high into the air and fell just a couple feet in front of the goal. The initial touch made Josh Cohen get out of position, and after a whole lot of footsy and poor attempts to clear the ball, Portland defender Lamar Batista was able to poke the ball in for an “easy” goal for a 0-1 advantage.
In the 29th minute, Sacramento was able to conjure up a nice run as Bijev was given a nice ball to the outside. Bijev, reliving he epic goal from two matches ago, crossed over yet another defender within the box, but wasn’t unable to connect for a goal. Passing outside left to Bijev would appear to be Sacramento’s best offensive strategy, but even that was defended aggressively and never seemed to amount to much.
A nightmare would soon develop as the 38 minute came to pass. After a small attack by Portland, a deflection out of bounds would provide them with a corner. Portland was able to take advantage as the ball was crossed beautifully in the middle of the box and headed into the back of the net by defender Modou Jadama extending the lead to 0-2.
As the 45the minute approached, the back four for Sacramento appeared to be lost as they surrendered numerous additional chances for Portland. Luckily for Sacramento, Cohen is a defensive demigod and was able to spare the Quails with some epic saves. After a sloppy ending to a disastrous first half for Sacramento, Portland entered halftime with the lead.
Halftime. Disappointing 45 minutes for Republic FC. Matjasic and Bijev looked good at points. Cohen did what he could. The back line was a total mess. Credit T2 though. They were the aggressors. #SACvPOR— Indomitable City Soccer (@BlurbsIndomita) May 3, 2018
SECOND HALF SUMMARY
Timbers II would enter the 2nd half continuing their dominance, as they consistently attacked, provided pressure on the defensive end, kept their composure, didn’t foul, and were able to limit turnovers and possession change. Sacramento, on the other hand, would make a move of desperation as they attempted to put Cameron Iwasa in the early part of the 2nd half (54’). Sadly the change came too late, as Republic FC would struggle to find any form of momentum. The frantic passing and inability to keep possession made Sacramento look like a bottom-feeding club.
As the match came to an end, so to did Sacramento’s undefeated record. A look of frustration and disappointment would show in all of the players’ faces along with their performances. In fact, the 2nd half was so poor performance-wise, there were no occurrences worth noting. Portland would remain victorious at the end of the match 0-2.
Sacramento struggled offensively the entire match, but were somehow able to manage getting a higher possession rate at 54 percent. It’s also miraculous considering the Timbers II had 18 interceptions during the game.
Sacramento and Portland had 18 and 16 shots respectively, but both had five shots on goal. Interestingly enough, Sacramento had 13 shots inside the box to Portland’s 10. Although the numbers suggest Sacramento had poor aim, the quality of the shot opportunities were much worse.
Overall both teams weren’t far off statistically which you can see on the USL match page . The difference was Portland’s great placements on a free kick and corner kick plus Sacramento’s inability to clear the ball or position themselves in those situations.
The title of this section is going to be misleading. There’s not much to say other than the fact that the back four had a horrible day defensively and were unable to make the simplest of passes. With that in mind, let’s look at some great saves by Josh Cohen to make us happy!
Sacramento will have to make adjustments quickly as their next match will be at 1:30pm Sunday, May 6 in Seattle against the Sounders II.