It’s not revolutionary to say that one potential route to victory in soccer is to score before your opponent. Of course, the opponent could score afterwards, but in the case of Sacramento Republic on Wednesday, a first-half brace powered a long-awaited 2-1 win over Las Vegas Lights in Las Vegas.
Tucker Bone provided the spark, the Sacramento area native’s goals propelling Republic FC to victory, and as one would imagine after a nine-game winless streak that stretched two months ended, the relief was palpable.
“I think our mentality was different, which allows you to start games quickly. We started on the front foot and focused. Tucker managed to get a goal early to us, which sets us up for the performance,” head coach Mark Briggs said after the game.
If it felt like Sac Republic took a book out of a recent opponent’s playbook in Orange County SC, who have established a pattern of taking a lead and shutting up shop in the back in their games this season, that’s in part because that was the approach they took. Whether or not they consciously mimicked OCSC is unclear, however.
“I would say tonight’s game went according to plan,” said Bone. “Mark had spoken to us at training previously and then today before the game. He said this look, this is our game plan...we’re going to sit down in a block...we’re going to be tight...we’re gonna be hard to break down. And offensively, we’re going to be aggressive and we’re gonna go at them and create chances. He made it clear that everybody’s sticking to the game plan, and we all stuck to the game plan and that’s exactly what we saw tonight, a team that was going to try and play through the middle.”
While the performances during Republic FC’s rut ran the gamut from demoralizing to encouraging, they admitted the win was needed to raise their morale moving forward.
“It gives us a platform. It gives us a little bit of momentum and also gives us a little bit of belief ... the boys needed that bit of belief. And now that’s what that result does. That win gives you that little bit of belief, a bit more of a platform for the guys to enjoy tonight. First and foremost, we haven’t won in a long time, so enjoy winning because it’s not easy to win a game. So I want them to enjoy the win tonight and that allows us to have a platform to build on as we move forward,” said Briggs.
Bone agreed with his manager.
“I think it just completely shifts the momentum. We’ve been building on it a little bit and when you get when you get into kind of slumps if you will like this, you know, you have to come to a realization as a group that it’s not going to be, it’s not going to be pretty. You’ve got to be gritty about it, you got to grind it out sometimes and that’s exactly what we did tonight. We did concede ... 2-0 is a dangerous score in football, everybody knows this. We did concede but we knew that we just had to keep, keep grinding. We kept grinding ... that’s what we did and we kept to that mentality ... we kept to the game plan and we were able to get that win and I think seeing the performance out of everybody and that sort of mentality from everybody puts us in a really good spot as a group to really move forward. We know we can win soccer games ... it’s a little bit of a hit to our confidence when you keep dropping games so it’s absolutely huge for the group. I know the guys are gonna be buzzing.”
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