Sacramento Republic FC suffered their first loss of the 2020 USL Championship season, as they fell 1-0 to LA Galaxy II in their first road match of the campaign.
The game, separated by a second-half goal by Los Dos, was very even in the run of play over the course of 90 minutes, but a flurry of Republic FC chances that weren’t converted before halftime ultimately came back to haunt them on the night.
Mark Briggs opted for the same lineup he used in the last game, with the likes of Cameron Iwasa starting on the bench again for Sacramento.
Perhaps the key stretch in the game came in the minutes before halftime for SRFC.
In the 42nd minute, it looked like Hayden Sargis would score his first pro goal for Sac Republic, but Los Dos goalkeeper Abraham Romero made a spectacular save to keep the game scoreless heading into the break.
A couple minutes later, Dariusz Formella nearly scored on a breakaway, but his shot trickled just wide, even though it beat Romero. Shortly before the halftime whistle, Formella forced another stop by Romero, and the teams entered the break scoreless.
After another even start to the second half, Iwasa and Kharlton Belmar entered the game right before the hour mark, looking to transform the fortunes for Republic FC.
Goalkeeper Adam Grinwis had to make a last-gasp stop in the 68th minute, and collided with the Galaxy II attacker in the process, and came away worse for the wear. But after getting some magic spray and a bit of attention, he continued in the match.
A few minutes later, a pesky Los Dos side opened the scoring, with Augustine Williams the man on the spot as he pounced on Tomas Hilliard-Arce’s ineffective clearance off an LA free kick to make it 1-0 to the home side in the 72nd minute.
15-year-old Rafael Jauregui replaced Rodrigo Lopez and Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu entered for Jaime Villarreal in the 79th minute with Republic FC chasing the game.
But credit to LA, who may be very young (their average age in the starting XI was just over 21 years old) but who combined an ability to pass well with grit to grind out play and keep Sacramento stymied throughout. And don’t discount the new venue for Republic FC — it’s not an excuse, but a road trip and new field to play on may have put them off just enough that they walked away from the game empty-handed.
Sac Republic return home for their next scheduled game, Wednesday against another non-group opponent, Orange County SC. These teams have had some great games over the years, and OCSC are unbeaten to start the season, so this should be another mouthwatering matchup.
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