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Tuned up: Sacramento Republic 4, Portland Timbers 2 0

Sacramento finish regular season strong with dominant win.

Courtesy of Republic FC

Sacramento Republic FC were looking for a win in their final tune-up ahead of the playoffs, and got it Saturday, as they dominated Portland Timbers 2 to the tune of a 4-0 win at Papa Murphy’s Park.

Sac Republic made quick work of their opponent, scoring their first three goals in the first 10 minutes of the game and were firmly in control throughout the match, as they posted their joint-best win of all time.

Mark Briggs went with a starting XI that seemed to be close to first-choice, although center back Hayden Sargis was on the bench for once, with Dekel Keinan and Tomas Hilliard-Arce starting in the center of defense.

Sacramento got off to a quick start, as they took the lead in the 2nd minute, with Portland goalkeeper Jake Leeker attempting to play the ball out and Villyan Bijev stripping the ball from him, then Bijev sending the pass to Darek Formella, who hit the angled shot. Although the officials had a discussion over whether the goal was legal, they ultimately ruled it was and the tally stood.

Formella scored again in the 5th minute, remarkably, as Sacramento romped on the counterattack, Kharlton Belmar feeding Rodrigo Lopez, who then fed Formella for the strike to make it 2-0.

Here’s the brace for Formella:

Sacramento piled on, with Jaime Villarreal adding to the scoresheet in the 9th minute. Formella set him up, with the high cross that Villarreal headed in.

Bijev jumped into the fray in the 25th minute, the midfielder dribbling in from the sideline and hitting a beautiful curler into the top corner to make it 4-0.

There were three Republic FC substitutes to start the second half: Frank Lopez, Cameron Iwasa and Shannon Gomez replaced Belmar, Villarreal and Jordan McCrary.

The second half was a lot slower going and both sides had looks. Rafael Diaz was pressed into service to make some stops, and Iwasa had a great chance saved by Leeker in the 66th minute.

But it was the performance that Sac Republic needed, honestly, Not all games will go so easily, but posting a big lead and then getting to sit on that for the rest of the game, while posting a clean sheet, is what you’re looking for ahead of the playoffs. I think this was arguably SRFC’s best win of the season, so perhaps they can carry that over into the postseason.

Sacramento are back in action next Saturday, when they’ll enter the playoffs against Phoenix Rising in Arizona. It’s an elimination game, so Sacramento will look to keep the same sharpness and intensity as they seek an upset in the postseason. Should be an exciting one!

What do you think? Leave a comment below.