Sacramento Republic FC hit the road again Wednesday evening in a mid-week match up against Fresno FC in the first Highway 99 Derby of the season. Sacramento was looking to capture their first win and three points since April 6, while Fresno was looking to build on a 4-2 come from behind win last weekend against Real Monarchs SLC and remain unbeaten on the season.
Republic FC Manager Simon Elliott fielded the following starting XI against the Zorros:
The first 20 minutes of the match saw Fresno out on the front foot. There were no real chances to speak off, but most of the play was in the Republic’s half of the field. Both teams were pretty sloppy in the midfield.
In the 29th minute, midfielder Sam Werner would take advantage of a mistake from Fresno goalkeeper C.J. Cochran when he came off his line to try and clear a ball away. The ball fell to Werner who quickly and calmly volleyed the ball over several defenders into an empty net to give the Republic a 1-0 advantage. It was Werner’s second goal of the season and a much-needed shot in the arm for the Quails.
The Republic would go into the half up a goal, but beyond Werner’s shot, they wouldn’t muster another shot on goal over the first 45 minutes. They only tallied three shots in total. Slow starts and few chances has been the theme over the last six matches, but when chances and goals are not coming, I guess you take a goal anyway you can get it.
The second half started much like the first half in that the Republic had to continuously withstand pressure from the home side. To their credit, they didn’t break for the entire match and did a good job of disrupting what Fresno wanted to do.
As the match worn on, particularly over the final 25 minutes, the Republic seemed to finally crank up some pressure of their own, and with it, were able to gain some control of the match. But it wasn’t without some late drama.
In the 77th minute, it appeared Fresno had found a late equalizer on a set piece, but former Republic forward Chris Cheney was called offside negating the goal. Fresno’s manager Adam Smith ran down the sideline to argue the call with the linesman and was shown a red card for his decision to do that.
Late drama aside, the Republic would ultimately hold on, and with it, they were able to secure their first three points in over a month. With the win, the Republic move to 4-3-2 (14 points) and move into fourth place, while Fresno suffers their first loss of the season dropping to 3-1-4 (13 points).
There is still some concern over the lack of chances being created and the goals that come with creating those chances, but on this night, this was a much-needed three points on the road.
Republic return home Saturday when they host Reno 1868 in another regional rivalry. The match is set to kickoff at 7:30pm. Saturday’s tilt will be the first of two-consecutive matches the sides will play. The Republic will host Reno again next Wednesday (May 15) as part of the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Sacramento Republic FC: 1 goal, 7 shots, 3 shots on target, 38.3 possession, 1 corners, 0 offsides, 3 yellow cards.
Fresno FC: 0 goals, 18 shots, 1 shots on target, 61.7 possession, 6 corners, 3 offsides, 2 yellow cards.
Republic FC Lineup: Josh Cohen, Shannon Gomez, Mitchell Taintor, Hayden Partain, Sam Werner (OUT, 81’) , Drew Skundrich, Tyler Blackwood (OUT, 89’), Dekel Keinan, Jaime Villarreal, Elliott Hord (OUT, 72’) and Jordan McCrary.
Republic FC Bench: Rafael Diaz, Matt Mahoney, Haris Chantzopoulos (IN, 81’), Keven Alemen (IN, 72’), Ray Saari, Stefano Bonomo (IN, 89’), and Mario Penagos.