Sacramento Republic FC (13-12-5) played host to LA Galaxy II (11-9-10) Wednesday night at Papa Murphy’s Park in a battle between two teams separated by a single point in the Western Conference table and two teams fighting to make the playoffs.
Galaxy II came into the match off an impressive 5-1 win over OKC Energy FC last Saturday night, while Sacramento were looking to rebound following an underwhelming 1-2 loss at home. With just a handful of games left in the season, the match was critical for both sides.
Republic FC Manager Simon Elliott would field a strong lineup for this mid-week tilt. Interestingly, center back Mitchell Taintor and midfielder Sam Werner were out of the starting XI again:
Sacramento would get on the board first in the 20th minute. Midfielder Keven Aleman won a battle for the ball deep inside the Republic’s half and quickly moved the ball forward. He played the ball left, which deflected off a Galaxy defender’s leg right to Thomas Enevoldsen who buried a right-footed bender in the top right corner.
Galaxy II would level in the 37th minute on a goal from Ethan Zubak who pounced on a shot that Bobby Shuttleworth initially turned away, but the ball fell right to Zubak who made the most of the opportunity. It was a wild sequence where the Quails allowed Galaxy II to dribble WAY too deep into the final third with little resistance.
All said, it was a fairly evenly played first half. Sacramento dominated the first 30 minutes or so, but Galaxy II definitely turned it on over the final 20 minutes.
Los Angeles would add a second goal in the 72nd minute on a strike from Mohammed Kamara right in front of the goal. The build up to this goal was similar to the first Galaxy II goal in that the visitors were given way too much space to operate. You got the sense leading up to the goal that it was coming and boy did it.
The match had an eerily feeling to last Saturday’s match where the Republic scored first, only to give up two goals and lose, but in the 89th minute, Matt Mahoney headed in the equalizer, and with it, an all-important point was salvaged at home. It also prevented the Galaxy II from sweeping the season series for the first time ever.
With the draw, Republic FC move to 13-12-6 (45 points) and sit in sixth place, while Galaxy II move to 11-9-11 (44 points) and are in ninth.
We will break down takeaways from this match tomorrow, but the bottom line is the team still lacks the consistency needed over 90 minutes, and that is problematic with three games remaining. Where they land in the table is unclear. They could slot into the fourth seed and host a first round playoff match, or drop into a play-in game situation (seeds 7-10), which wouldn’t be in the end of the world, but a difficult road nonetheless.
The Republic will get their next crack to move up the table this Saturday on the road at Tulsa Roughnecks FC who are near the bottom of the table and have been eliminated from playoff contention. The Quails will need to bring their best against a team that has nothing to lose. These games as fans know are often dangerous.
Sacramento Republic FC: 2 goals, 21 shots, 4 shots on target, 53.3 possession, 8 corners, 0 offsides, 2 yellow cards, 1 red card.
LA Galaxy II: 2 goals, 14 shots, 3 shots on target, 46.7 possession, 9 corners, 3 offsides, 2 yellow cards, 1 red card.
Republic FC Lineup: Bobby Shuttleworth, Matt Mahoney, Haris Chantzopoulos, Dariusz Formella (OUT, 62’), Keven Aleman (OUT, 73’), Drew Skundrich, Juan Barahona (OUT, 57’), Thomas Enevoldsen, Jaime Villarreal, Jordan McCrary and Cameron Iwasa.
Republic FC Bench: Rafael Diaz, Mitchell Taintor (IN, 57’), Hayden Partain, Sam Werner (IN, 62’), Villyan Bijev (IN, 73’), Dekel Keinan and Stefano Bonomo.