Sacramento Republic FC returned home Saturday night and welcomed the Portland Timbers 2 into town following a two-match road trip that took them through Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The match was critical for both teams with just a handful of matches to play and given the fact that they were separated by a single point in the Western Conference table.
Manager Simon Elliott would roll out the following starting XI:
In front of a sold out Papa Murphy’s Park, Republic FC came out on the front foot, which immediately paid dividends in the sixth minute. Keven Alemán would play the ball forward to Elliot Hord who quickly moved the ball up on the right flank and put in a beautiful cross that Cameron Iwasa headed in with force to give the Quails a quick 1-0 advantage.
It was Iwasa’s team-leading 15th goal on the season and Hord’s second assist.
Republic would be back at it in the 19th minute when Alemán sent in a cross from the right corner that Villyan Bijev headed on frame, but was denied by an amazing stretched-out save from Timbers 2 keeper Kendall McIntosh.
In the 49th minute, Republic keeper Josh Cohen would return the favor when Timbers 2 midfielder Jack Barmby (former Manchester United Academy product) hit a dangerous left-footed shot that Cohen stretched out to save.
In the 74th minute, Timbers 2 Nathan Smith was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the match following a late challenge on Mitchell Taintor. The Republic would play a man up for the remainder of the match.
The match would end shortly thereafter, and the Quails would come away with three critical points. With the win, Republic FC move to 16-7-8 (56 points), while the Timbers 2 fall to 16-12-4 (52 points).
Coupled with another loss by Real Monarchs 2, Republic jump to third in the conference and move one step closer to hosting a first round playoff match.
The club will have little time to celebrate as they have a quick turnaround as they play again this Wednesday, October 3 when the welcome in Swope Park Rangers who are fighting for their own playoff position. That match is set to kick off at 7:30pm.
Final Stats and Lineup
Sacramento Republic FC: 1 goal, 13 shots, 5 shots on target, 50.1 possession, 4 corners, 3 offsides, 1 yellow card.
Portland Timbers 2: 0 goals, 8 shots, 3 shots on target, 49.9 possession, 3 corners, 1 offsides, 2 yellow cards, 1 red card.
Republic FC Lineup: Josh Cohen; Elliott Hord, Emrah Klimenta, Mitchell Taintor, Shannon Gomez; Jure Matjasic (OUT, 61’), Jeremy Hall, Hayden Partain (OUT, 85’), Keven Alemán (OUT, 79’); Villyan Bijev, Cameron Iwasa.
Republic FC Bench: Rafael Diaz, Josh Turnley, Justin Schmidt, Wilson Kneeshaw (IN, 79’), Cole Seiler (IN, 85’), Christian Eissele (IN, 61’), Luis Espino.
Republic announced yesterday that forward Mario Penagos, who was just signed to the first-team on an ‘Academy Player on Professional Team’ contract, was named to the U17 United States Men’s National Team roster. He is one of 20 players that will represent the U.S. when the face Argentina on October 4. The U.S. will also face off against Mexico on October 5 and end with Chile on October 7.