Sacramento Republic FC faced off against MLS side Los Angeles FC Wednesday night in the Round of 16 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. It was the second-consecutive year Republic FC made it to the Round of 16, and similar to last season, the Republic would see their quest to move on in the competition fall short.
As you would expect, Republic FC Manager Simon Elliott would field a strong XI:
Tonight's @usbank starting XI vs @LAFC. #USOC2018 pic.twitter.com/vFau8WQ0As— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) June 21, 2018
Republic would start the scoring in the 35th minute when Elliott Hord pounced on the rebound on a shot from Jure Matjašič on the left side. It was simply a splendid finish.
.@Ehord26 finds the back of the net for @SacRepublicFC!#USOC2018 #LAFCvSAC pic.twitter.com/EuNFnLNYfm— USL (@USL) June 21, 2018
Right before half, Josh Cohen would make an incredible save on a penalty kick from Benny Feilhaber from LAFC to ensure the Republic would have the goal advantage going to half.
However, 13 minutes into the second half (58th minute), Feilhaber would get another crack at it and this time made it count to bring the score to 1-1.
Minutes later, Villyan Bijev would put the Republic back on top 2-1 with an absolute banger. It was a beautiful sequence of play from the Republic, a great response from the Republic after just conceding a goal, and obviously a great individual effort from Bijev.
Anything you can do, i can do better @SacRepublicFC take the lead 2-1 just seconds after @LAFC drew level at 1-1. Seesaw stuff & a fine finish from Villyan Bijev. #USOC2018 pic.twitter.com/J0bDAodqr2— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) June 21, 2018
LAFC would respond again in the 67th minute and equalize on a goal from Diego Rossi to bring the score to 2-2. Rossi would be back at it again in the 89th minute when he sent a cross in the box that found the foot of a streaking Latif Blessing to give LAFC a 2-3 advantage. The final whistle would blow shortly thereafter, and LAFC would survive and advance.
⚽️ ️ The game changer @latif_blessing gives us the late lead!#LAFCvSAC pic.twitter.com/QTKsvLIS8o— LAFC (@LAFC) June 21, 2018
Despite the loss, the Quails have no reason to hang their head. They played an incredible match and gave LAFC everything they could handle.
Republic FC return to action this Saturday when they host St. Louis FC at Papa Murphy’s Park. That match is scheduled to kick off at 8pm. If they can play the way they played in this tournament the rest of the way in USL play, they are going to be just fine.