Goals from Villyan Bijev and Victor Arboleda help Portland Timbers 2 hand Sacramento Republic FC their first regular season home loss since Jul. 6, 2016.
Sacramento Republic FC and Portland Timbers 2 played a back and forth first half of the match. Republic FC came closest with a few scoring opportunities off set pieces. Midfielder Daniel Trickett-Smith nearly scored on a direct free kick in the 4th minute, but just couldn’t quite get the ball over the defensive wall. A few minutes later it was Trickett-Smith again, this time linking up with Republic FC captain Danny Barrera to try to beat the T2 defensive line with some layoff passes, but unfortunately the attack was again foiled by the T2 defense.
T2 would jump on the score sheet first in the 40th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick for a foul called in the box on Republic FC defender Jeremy Hall. Midfielder Vilyan Bijev calmly stepped up to the spot in front the imposing north bleacher and Tower Bridge Battalion, who were screaming down on him, and coolly sent a chipped penalty kick that beat Republic FC keeper Evan Newton and put the visitors in front 1-0 going into halftime.
Republic FC came out of halftime strong with a couple threatening crosses from defender James Kiffe, but neither was converted into a goal. Wilson Kneeshaw was able to get his head to one of Kiffe’s spectacular services a few minutes later, but just couldn’t steer it on frame. Trickett-Smith also had a chance for a strike in the 53rd minute after a perfect drop-off pass from forward Trevin Caesar, but the T2 defense was able to block the shot away.
T2 would add to their lead in the 68th minute after Newton came off his line to stop a streaking attack. Newton made the initial stop, but the rebound was collected by midfielder Victor Arboleda who took the ball a few touches to his right before sending a grounded shot into the bottom left corner of the goal giving T2 the 2-0 lead.
Republic FC nearly pulled one back in the 84th minute when defender Chris Christian sent a long-looping ball into the box which found the head of Trickett-Smith. The midfielder redirected a header on net, but T2 keeper Wade Hamilton stretched out to make a crucial save to essentially secure the visitors’ two-goal victory.
“We gifted them the game,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “We had our chances in the match. It wasn’t about tactics; we just couldn’t put it in the back of the net. We were our own worst enemy.”
Republic FC begin another three-match road stretch on Saturday, Apr. 29 when they travel to take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2. Kickoff is 3 p.m. The match will be streamed live at SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide and YouTube.com/USL.
Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations