Sacramento Republic FC opened their home slate for the 2021 season with a victory, defeating Las Vegas Lights FC 3-1 at Heart Health Park on Wednesday.
While Las Vegas were a good test between Sacramento’s first and second goals and even tied up the game in the 2nd half, Republic FC were good value for the win and were unquestionably pleased to get the win in front of fans for the first time in over a year.
Mark Briggs made two changes to his starting XI for Republic FC, bringing in Tucker Bone and Luis Felipe for Cameron Iwasa and Fatai Alashe, respectively, who were both unavailable.
There was an early scare for Sacramento, as a free kick to Las Vegas just two minutes in led to a bicycle kick by Las Vegas’ Kwadwo Opoku, only for his attempt to sail wide of the mark.
Sacramento’s first good look came in the 9th minute, as a great give-and-go for Kharlton Belmar led to a quick chance in the box for the forward, but his attempt also missed wide.
But Sac Republic found the breakthrough in the 14th minute, when Shannon Gomez sent in a diagonal throughball that found its way to Darek Formella in the box, who made no mistake with the chance.
Tomas Gomez had to go to a full stretch to deny Opoku in the 23rd minute to keep Las Vegas off the board. He was tested a few times before halftime, but kept it scoreless, with Sac Republic leading 1-0 after 45 minutes.
Las Vegas earned a penalty a few minutes into the 2nd half, as Danny Musovski was bundled over by Mitchell Taintor as a low cross came through. Taintor picked up a yellow card, but Musovski buried the penalty in the 51st minute.
Sacramento got a second goal in the 66th minute, as a chaotic play in Las Vegas’ end led to a hospital ball over the top to try and catch Lights out, and Bone latched onto the block by the visitors, smashing in a one-timer to take Republic FC ahead again.
Jaime Villarreal was SRFC’s first sub of the night, in the 68th minute, for Luis Felipe. His presence was important, as he scored the insurance goal in the 72nd minute, making the run into the box and tapping in Formella’s shot.
Mario Penagos entered the game for Belmar in the 78th minute, the young midfielder’s first action of the season. Julian Chavez then entered the game in the 87th minute, Briggs opting for just three subs on the night.
Sacramento played much better in this game than in their opener, and while there are still a few pain points, the attack is flowing quite well at this point and they look like they can get better. Six points out of six to start the season — it’s exactly what you want.
Sac Republic get another week-plus off before their next match, on Saturday, May 22 at Orange County SC.
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