After multiple weather delays, Sacramento Republic FC looked to extend their unbeaten run to five games against El Paso Locomotive FC. The Republic were in a goaless draw at OKC Energy the last time out.
When these two met previously in the season, the Republic fell 3-1 on the road. Looking to continue their postseason push, El Paso were coming off a 2-0 win against Colorado Springs. With a win, Sacramento could take back the fourth position in the conference. And if El Paso were to win, they would move above the playoff line into the ninth seed.
Coach Simon Elliott fielded this lineup for the matchup:
Our @jiffylubesac starting XI vs @eplocomotivefc. ⚽️#VamosRepublic | #SACvELP pic.twitter.com/JHgQwa8Tvq— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) September 29, 2019
Sacramento Republic kicked off this game amongst a litany of lightning strikes and rounds of thunder.
A decent chance presented itself for the Republic in the second minute as Villyan Bijev sent in a low cross off the corner that got to the near post. The resulting shot was deflected out for a corner.
A weather delay was called by the referee in the 10th minute, as hail started to fall.
Play resumed back at 8:57pm, when the weather finally cleared up. This was nearly a hour and a half from when the game was originally supposed to start. Only the hardcore fans remained. During this delay TBB provided some entertainment as they took over different parts of the park.
Once play resumed, the Republic picked up where they had left off by holding a majority of the possession and putting pressure on the El Paso box.
The first chance after the delay fell to Stefano Bonomo, as Keven Aleman played him in the center of the box. Bonomo got a turn on the ball but the shot was blocked for a corner.
All this pressure resulted in the Republic breaking through in the 14th minute. Jaime Villarreal put in a lofted ball to Bonomo, who headed it back across goal. Thomas Enevoldsen got to it at the far post, after Matt Mahoney got a touch to it, and put it in the back of the net.
*ENEVOLDSEN!— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) September 29, 2019
The Dane gets his foot on it right at the end after Mahoney's header put it on frame.
The boys up 1-0. https://t.co/6DtYLfYszj
El Paso nearly leveled the match in the 35th minute. Their striker got in a 1v1 against Bobby Shuttleworth and got the shot past him. Thankfully the ball rolled safely wide across goal.
In the 39th minute, Enevoldsen almost got another for the Republic. Bijev intercepted a free kick and played Bonomo down the left. Enevoldsen received the ball in the center of the box but was blocked.
El Paso closed out the half with a chance. Haris Chantzopoulos got caught on the ball and was dispossessed. The El Paso forward didn’t strike it well enough as the ball ended up floating away from goal.
Going into the half, the Republic should have felt good. They held most of the possession and had a wide variety of shots.
El Paso got us started in the second half and leveled the game in the 47th minute. They sent in a powerful cross from their left, and Rebellon got on the end and put it past Shuttleworth.
The Republic nearly took the lead in the 57thminute when Aleman got his way past two men and fired a cross that got to Cameron Iwasa. Unfortunately, the shot ended up going over the bar.
57' | CHANCE! Aleman breaking ankles as he charges into the box but he hits the post. pic.twitter.com/SXtkZs0JDa— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) September 29, 2019
The Republic were responding well after giving up the goal. After making two (eventually three) attacking substitutions, the team were holding possession and back to putting pressure on the opposition. Iwasa got a shot in the 67th minute that struck the bar.
67' | Knocking. On. That. Door. pic.twitter.com/WbZpWSUpaZ— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) September 29, 2019
However, in what was a complete misplay in the backline, a botched clearance resulted in El Paso putting the game winner in the back of the net. It looked as if there was some miscommunication that El Paso pounced on.
With the 1-2 result, Sacramento Republic are now the sixth seed in the conference, two points away from the group that would hold home-field advantage in the playoffs. El Paso move into the ninth seed, one point separating them from the teams below the playoff line. The Republic will look to bounce back against Los Dos at home this Wednesday.
Let me just say, this was the weirdest game that I have had the chance to cover. And just looking at the numbers, this should’ve been a match that the Republic took a point from at least.
Sacramento Republic FC: 1 goal, 19 shots, 4 shots on target, 51.9 possession, 6 corners, 1 offsides, 2 yellow card, 2 red card.
El Paso Locomotive FC: 2 goal, 10 shots, 3 shot on target, 48.1 possession, 2 corners, 0 offsides, 2 yellow cards, 0 red card.
Republic FC Lineup: Bobby Shuttleworth, Jordan McCrary, Matt Mahoney, Haris Chantzopoulos, Juan Barahona, Jaime Villarreal, Drew Skundrich, Keven Aleman (OUT, 80’), Villyan Bijev (OUT, 60’), Thomas Enevoldsen, Stefano Bonomo (OUT, 53’)
Republic FC Bench: Rafael Diaz, Hayden Sargis, Dekel Keinan, Hayden Partain, Sam Werner (IN, 60’), Cameron Iwasa (IN, 53’), Dariusz Formella (IN, 80’)