Sacramento Republic FC faced off against San Jose Earthquakes Tuesday night in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition. Sacramento was looking to make it to the final round of 16 for the second-consecutive year, while the Earthquakes were looking to advance as well and continue their solid run of play after starting the season 0-4-0.
Republic Manager Simon Elliott fielded a strong starting XI as expected:
Sacramento came out on the front foot, which immediately paid dividends in the 2nd minute. Villyan Bijev would push the ball up quickly on the right side of the field and crossed the ball in. The ball was deflected off an Earthquakes defender right to the foot of Sam Werner who slammed it home to give the Republic a quick 1-0 advantage. How many times has Werner’s name been mentioned this season? The guy has been sensational.
San Jose quickly responded in the 10th minute after a horrific turnover by Drew Skundrich 25 yards out from goal. Midfielder Magnus Eriksson quickly gathered control of the ball and hit a low left-footed shot that easily beat Josh Cohen.
But just five minutes later (15th minute), Bijev took a free kick just outside the box after being fouled. His right footed strike found the top left corner of the goal to give the Quails a 2-1 advantage. It was a beautiful goal.
In the 38th minute, San Jose would level after former Republic loanee (and Loomis product) Tommy Thompson was taken down in the box on what was a clear penalty by Bijev. Cristian Espinoza stepped up to take the penalty kick and easily converted.
The whistle on the first half was blown shortly thereafter and the two sides went to the locker room tied at 2-2. Republic definitely looked the better side in the first half, but a couple of careless mistakes cost them dearly.
The Earthquakes asserted themselves in the second and seized control of the match.
After continuous pressure from the home side, the Earthquakes were finally able to go ahead in the 78th minute on a goal from second half substitute Vako (Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili) on a deflection from Chris Wondolowski. You could sense it coming after the play right before hit the cross bar.
Vako would get his brace in the 90th minute when the Republic back line fell asleep. Drew Skundrich would pull one back minutes later, but the Quails ran out of time and fell 3-4.
In the end, it started positive for the Republic, and Bijev’s goal was one to remember, but there were simply too many mistakes against a quality MLS side.
The Republic return to USL Championship league action on Saturday, June 22 when they host Tulsa Roughnecks FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 8pm.