Sacramento Republic FC dominate possession and score two second half goals to win their USL season opener over Seattle Sounders FC 2 for the second consecutive season.
Sounders FC 2 came out of the gate strong, applying solid pressure on the Republic FC defense who were able to stifle most of the early chances. S2 would break through however in the 5th minute on an Irvin Parra free kick. After a foul about 35 yards away from goal, Parra stepped up and sent a short free kick that bounced a few times before finding defender Brian Nana-Sinkam who drove a shot on goal that skipped up right in front of goal, hit the bottom of the post before bouncing against the ground and up again into the top of the net, giving S2 the early 1-0 lead.
Republic FC seemed energized following the goal and went on to dominate the possession for the remainder of the half, owning 55 percent of the ball in the first half. Republic FC had one of their best looks on goal of the first half in the 23rd minute after an interception by Sammy Ochoa. The forward moved the ball down the middle of the field before laying it off to midfielder Adam Moffat who had come up in support. Moffat then took a strong shot toward the far side of the goal, but a diving Bryan Meredith was there to knock the ball away from goal and keep S2’s narrow 1-0 lead.
In the 32nd minute Ochoa would instigate another Republic FC attack. Ochoa took the ball down the right side of the field almost to the goal line before picking out forward Tyler Blackwood who was all alone on the left side of the box. Blackwood settled the ball before sending a curling shot toward the top right corner of the goal, but the shot missed just high and wide of the goal keeping the match 1-0 at half.
Republic FC continued their dominance on the ball in the second half and were rewarded in the 65th minute. Midfielder Agustin Cazarez knocked down a short clearance by S2 right to the feet of defender James Kiffe at the top of the box. Kiffe took a strong left footed strike toward goal that deflected off Ochoa who was perfectly placed in the box. Ochoa’s deflection beat Meredith and found the goal just inside the far post, leveling the score 1-1.
In the 70th minute it looked as though Republic FC might have taken the lead. Moffat found a loose ball near the top of the box and one-touched a left-footed strike that hit the inside of the far post, rolled along the line, hit the near post and then looked to be in the goal, but was judged to have not crossed the line as Meredith ran quickly to retrieve the ball.
Republic FC would find the go-ahead, and ultimately winning goal, in the 83rd minute. After a barrage of shots by Republic FC, the ball was cleared, but only as far as Ochoa on the right side of the box. The forward tapped the ball back to substitute defender Emrah Klimenta, playing in his first USL match since tearing his ACL in a match against S2 on July 2, 2016. Klimenta took a touch forward before blasting a grounded shot toward the far post, that got under the arm of a diving Meredith and into the back of the net giving Republic FC the 2-1 lead.
Republic FC dominated the possession in the match, earning 61 percent of the possession and outshooting S2 28 to eight. 28 shots is a record in a single USL match for Republic FC, beating the previous mark of 24 against Arizona United SC on Sept. 19, 2015. Republic FC also tied their record for most shots in a single half with 15 in the second half, tying their second half performance against Orange County Blues FC on Aug. 17, 2014.
Republic FC will return to Sacramento for their Opening Night at Papa Murphy’s Park on Saturday, Apr. 1. They will take on Orange County SC with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.
Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations