Sacramento Republic FC played host to first place Real Monarchs SLC Saturday night at Papa Murphy's Park in their first of five #5YearsofGlory matches at home this season. It was also the debut of the new black third kit to commemorate the club’s fifth anniversary. The match also featured the return of Emrah Klimenta who was re-aquired earlier in the week. Republic FC came into the match 2-5-3 in all-time contests (1-2-2 at home).
As expected, Republic FC Manager mixed up his starting XI — most notably, forward Wilson Kneeshaw and midfielder Luis Espino getting the start.
Tonight's @usbank starting XI vs @RealMonarchs ⚽️#SACvSLC | #5YearsOfGlory pic.twitter.com/i8GLVsCKt7— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) July 8, 2018
The two sides traded opportunities in the first 20 minutes. Republic FC had their best chance in the the 12th minute when Espino got deep into the 18 yard box and put in a beautiful cross that Cameron Iwasa was able to get on the other end of. Unfortunately, Iwasa’s header hit the right cross bar and was quickly cleared out.
The match settled down from there, and both sides went to the locker room locked at 0-0.
Sacramento would come out as the aggressors in the second half, and it would quickly pay dividends. In the 52nd, Jeremy Hall would win a 50/50 ball in the Monarchs defensive third. He quickly played it forward to a streaking Wilson Kneeshaw, who was taken down in the box by Monarchs keeper Jake Leeker. The referee immediately whistled for a penalty.
Iwasa stepped up to take the penalty shot, but his low liner hit the left post and was cleared away. If a missed penalty kick seems familiar to you — it’s because it’s the fourth penalty they’ve missed this season out of six chances.
In the 77th minute, Emrah Klimenta substituted into the match, sending Papa Murphy’s Park into a frenzy. He would immediately get a chance in the 78th minute after Iwasa was taken down just outside the Monarchs box. Klimenta’s shot however sailed high over the goal.
Despite a flurry of late chances, and completely dominating the second half, the Republic were not able to get one in and the match ended in a 0-0 draw. It was a game the Quails really needed to get back on track, while the Monarchs were likely content getting a point on the road.
Republic FC move to 8-5-6 (30 points) while the Monarchs move to 12-4-2 (38 points). With the draw, the Republic have now not won a match since June 13 on the road at Fresno. They now head out on the road to face Colorado Springs Switchbacks on July 14.
Final Stats and Lineup
Sacramento Republic FC: 0 goals, 16 shots, 6 shots on target, 56.3 possession, 9 corners, 4 offside, 1 yellow card.
Real Monarchs SLC: 0 goals, 14 shots, 2 shots on target, 43.7 possession, 1 corner, 1 offside, 3 yellow cards.
Republic FC lineup: Josh Cohen; Elliott Hord (OUT, 77’), Mitchell Taintor, Justin Scmidt, Shannon Gomez; Luis Espino, Adam Moffat, Jeremy Hall, Jure Matjasic, Wilson Kneeshaw (OUT, 61’), Cameron Iwasa.
Republic FC bench: Rafael Diaz, Jamie Villarreal, Hayden Partain, Christian Eissele, Cole Seiler, Villyan Bijev (IN, 61’), Josh Burnley, Emrah Klimenta (IN, 77’).