On a brisk late spring evening in the Capital City, Sacramento Republic FC played host to Seattle Sounders FC in the fourth-round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. It was the second straight year the Quails hosted an MLS side at home in the Open Cup competition, albeit in front of a noticeably smaller crowd this year than last season when Republic FC knocked off Real Salt Lake 4-1.
Republic Manager Simon Elliott rolled out a familiar starting XI.
Republic created several quality chances in the first half. Adam Moffat had a series of chances one of which he skied and the other that just went wide. The best chance probably came in the 45th minute when Wilson Kneeshaw found some space just outside the box and fired a low curving shot on goal that missed just left.
In the 60th minute, the Republic would finally break through. Elliott Hord sent a ball in towards the goal that Cameron Iwasa was able to get his foot on and slide it past Sounders keeper Bryan Meredith to give the home side a 1-0 advantage.
In the 65th minute, it was Iwasa again beating the defense in tracking down a long ball out of the Republic’s half, and despite a flurry of action in front of the goal that probably should have led to the Republic’s second goal of the match, they were unable to capitalize.
For good measure, Iwasa would have another opportunity in front of the goal in the 70th minute, as well as Villyan Bijev in the 83rd minute, who hit a low liner that was saved by Meredith who had to fully extend his arms to save it. Justin Schmidt would get his chance in the 89th minute too, but again, Meredith was able to make the save even though he was off balanced.
Despite the fact that the Republic completely dominated the second half play, Harry Shipp would equalize for the Sounders in the 90th minute to send the match to extra time.
Republic picked up exactly where they left off in the first 15 minutes of extra time, so much so that I don’t believe the Sounders advanced the ball out of their defensive half more than once. However, Republic were not able to push through the go-ahead goal.
In the 116th minute, it was substitute Jure Matjasic who tracked down a rebound on a shot from Iwasa that Meredith couldn’t control, and slammed it home to give the Republic a 2-1 advantage.
And nearly three hours after the match started, the final whistle was blown and the Republic earned a ticket to the final round of 16 in the Open Cup for the second-consecutive season. All things considered, the Quails dominated the Sounders and earned every bit of the result.
Republic will face Los Angeles Football Club next in the Open Cup competition and will travel to Los Angeles. Date and time to be announced soon.