On a blazing hot night in the Capital City, Sacramento Republic faced off against St. Louis FC in a Western Conference clash. Interestingly, tonight’s match was only the third time the two teams have played with St. Louis shifting conferences each of the last three years due to the growth of the USL. Also of note, the road team has emerged victorious (St. Louis on April 23, 2016 0-1 and Republic FC on August 13, 2016 4-3) in those two matches.
Republic FC Manager Simon Elliott filled out his starting XI as such:
Republic FC would come out as the more aggressive side, which immediately led to an opportunity in the 4th minute. After a poor turnover by St. Louis in their defensive third, Cameron Iwasa would collect the ball and attempt a shot that was deflected right to Villyan Bijev whose right-footed shot sailed high over the crossbar.
Republic would continue to press over the next 20 minutes, which would pay off in the 28th minute when Iwasa would net his team-leading sixth goal of the USL season. Republic won the ball at midfield, Jeremy Hall quickly played it up to Iwasa who made a tremendous individual effort around several defenders. His left-footed shot easily blew by St. Louis keeper Tomas Gomez who was caught flat-footed. For good measure, Hall would be credited with the assist.
Iwasa would strike again in the 47th minute when Jamie Villarreal would play a beautiful through ball, and similar to his first goal, Iwasa made a tremendous individual effort fighting off a defender, and his left-footed shot beat the keeper to extend the Republic’s lead to 2-0. With the two goals, Iwasa moves into second place on the Republic all-time list with three braces in USL play (Rodrigo Lopez leads with five).
In the 74th minute, Albert Dikwa would pull one back for St. Louis on what was a wild sequence in front of the Republic’s box. St. Louis would continue to press for the remaining 16 minutes, and in the 90th minute, were able to equalize after what appeared to be a poor decision from substitute Wilson Kneeshaw who committed a foul on a St. Louis player that had his back to the goal just outside the box. Wal Fall took the free kick and beat Josh Cohen to bring the score to 2-2.
That’s how the match would end, which is disappointing considering Republic FC were in complete control of the match for the first 75 minutes. With the tie, Republic FC move to 8-4-5 (29 points), while St. Louis moves to 5-5-6 (21 points).
Republic return to action on June 30 when they travel to face Fresno FC, who they just beat a few weeks ago 1-0 on the road.