Fans were disappointed that Sacramento Republic FC couldn’t hold on to a home win to open the 2020 USL Championship season Saturday against FC Tulsa, and frankly, so were Sacramento Republic themselves.
“It was a momentary lapse,” head coach Mark Briggs told reporters after the 1-1 draw at Papa Murphy’s Park. “We got caught ball-watching a little bit and left the space in between our right-sided center back and Matt Mahoney and they capitalized. Their midfielder played a great ball and they finished.”
Drew Skundrich’s 42nd-minute opening goal for Sac Republic was canceled out by Rodrigo da Costa’s equalizer in the 79th minute.
“But when you play at this level, one lapse in concentration will cost you points,” Briggs added about the equalizer. “It’s a positive, we just have to keep working, keep grinding and we’ll get there.”
“Obviously we wanted to win the game tonight, you guys all know that, Coach Briggs probably said that, but it’s still a point, we had zero to start the season so it’s always good to get to get one under our belts,” Skundrich said after the game. “I thought we played well… created a lot of chances … had that one mental lapse at the end to give up the goal, which is unfortunate but there are a lot of positives a lot of things to take away, and we’re just gonna try to get better and keep moving on.”
Sacramento’s lineup featured a lot of new faces — Adam Grinwis, Hayden Sargis, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Mario Penagos, with Ash Apollon coming off the bench and Rodrigo Lopez making his re-debut for the club, also off the bench.
Briggs had positive things to say about the newcomers, and was asked specifically about Wheeler-Omiunu.
“I thought Andrew did well for us in the middle of the park. I think him and Drew cover a lot of ground in there for us and allow us to play the style we want to play,” he said.
Regarding Lopez’s return, Briggs was pleased with the crowd on the night, their energy and the star midfielder entering the fray after being sidelined a bit during preseason.
“I thought the fans, the atmosphere tonight, it was first-class, fantastic. And I think it’s only going to get better. which is huge. I think the community gets behind this club and they support this club. When RoRo went on the field, the noise, the roar, it was great. And that’s what we want to see every week, right? I think it was great for RoRo to get minutes, he’s been suffering a little bit with injury, so to get him 20 minutes was great for us and great for him,” he said.
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