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Wake up: Tacoma Defiance 1, Sacramento Republic 0

Young guns put Sac Republic to the test, again.

Courtesy of Republic FC

Sacramento Republic FC lost just their second game of the 2020 season Wednesday, 1-0 to Tacoma Defiance in Tacoma.

Alec Diaz’s second-half goal was the difference for Tacoma, as Republic are now four games without a win, and one game left to play before the playoffs begin.

Mark Briggs made many changes to his Sacramento lineup, bringing in Julian Chavez and Rafael Jauregui in midfield for the XI, Brady Scott getting another start in goal and Frank Lopez starting up top.

Lopez had the first real chance for Sacramento, as his dribble and shot around the 15th minute forced a rather-easy save from Tacoma goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky.

He nearly had a goal in the 38th minute, as Shannon Gomez’s cross hit Lopez in the chest between two defenders in the box, but the Cuban forward didn’t have enough space to take it down and get a good shot it as the ball sailed wide on the snap shot.

Lopez again had a good look, as his dribble and shot from a tight angle was cleared at the doorstep just before Cameron Iwasa could get on the ball to tap it in at the far post.

Just before halftime, Lopez went over inside the box and looked for the penalty, but the referee called a foul against him, causing the striker to blow up in anger over the appeal falling on deaf ears.

But the first half ended 0-0 with both teams feeling pretty confident they could grab the first goal.

Tacoma almost took the lead a few minutes after the hour mark, as a free kick led to a shot clanging off the crossbar, but the chance bounced away and the home side couldn’t get a second look on the play, as Sacramento dodged a bullet.

Then Tacoma got the lead in the 71st minute, as Alec Diaz scored again against Sac Republic, the youngster tapping in Danny Reynolds’ angled cross to make it 1-0.

Sacramento tried to push but they really couldn’t get the equalizer late and the game ended in a loss. On one hand, it’s just one game, and if you’re going to lose, better to do it now then in the playoffs. On the other hand, Sacramento has majorly slumped lately, and while injuries and squad rotation has likely contributed to that, it’s got to be a concern heading into the playoffs.

Sac Republic will close out the regular season Saturday at home, when they host Portland Timbers 2. Believe it or not but formerly hopeless T2 have shown life lately, including beating Tacoma twice. And Tacoma just beat Republic FC, so, yeah, time to buckle up for the final tune-up ahead of the playoffs.

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