Goals from Trevin Caesar, Tyler Blackwood and Sammy Ochoa put Republic FC ahead early, but a late trio of goals, including a brace from former Republic FC forward Mackenzie Pridham, salvaged a draw for Reno 1868 FC.
Republic FC started the game quickly, keeping possession and seeing many good looks on goal. Republic FC would open the scoring in the 17th minute. Defender James Kiffe took the ball toward goal on the top left side of the box, before sending it back to midfielder Tyler Blackwood who was making a run behind him. Blackwood then played a one-two with forward Sammy Ochoa at the corner of the box, receiving the ball back on the left side of the box. Blackwood then played the ball across goal to forward Trevin Caesar who was making a run in the middle of the box and just flicked the ball with the outside of his foot and past goalkeeper Matt Bersano, putting Republic FC ahead 1-0.
In the 20th minute, Blackwood stole the ball in the middle of the field and took a few touches down the middle of the pitch. Blackwood then unleashed a strong right-footed shot that beat Bersano, making the score 2-0 in favor of Republic FC.
Republic FC would increase their lead again in the 25th minute. After a corner went long, defender Elliott Hord stole the ball, taking it from box-to-box before laying the ball off to Caesar who was sprinting down the middle of the field. Caesar was then taken down in the box as he attempted a shot, earning a penalty. Ochoa stepped up and calmly slid the ball into the left side of the goal, while Bersano dove right, putting Republic FC ahead 3-0.
Reno 1868 FC would get a goal back in the 41st minute. Midfielder Antoine Hoppenot received the ball in the middle of the field before sending the ball wide to forward Dane Kelly who was making a run on the right side of the box. Kelly then sent a grounded ball to forward Mackenzie Pridham who was open in the middle of the box. Pridham settled the ball and then sent the ball into the goal, making the score 3-1 going into the half.
The second half started much like the first with Republic FC maintaining a majority possession. In the 67th minute Republic FC would see their best chance to increase their lead in the second half. Substitute forward Wilson Kneeshaw was played open by a long ball down the left side from Kiffe. Kneeshaw then went one-on-one with Bersano, but the keeper was quick to the ground and blocked the shot, clearing it from danger.
1868 FC would counter the Kneeshaw shot with a goal to pull themselves within one. After the ball was cleared, Pridham received the ball in the middle of the field. The former Republic FC forward took a few touches toward goal before sending a strike on goal. Goalkeeper Evan Newton was able to block Pridham’s shot, but only as far as Kelly who was following the play and tapped the ball into the net making the score 3-2.
Reno would score their third and final goal of the night in the 88th minute. Former Republic FC midfielder Matt LaGrassa sent a long ball to the middle of the box, toward forward Brian Brown. The substitute forward chested the ball to Pridham who had found space behind the defense and send a strong shot past Newton and into the back of the net, ending the match in a 3-3 draw.
“We knew it would be a tough game,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “It was wonderful to see so many of our supporters make the trip here and we thank them for that. For a preseason friendly to have so many fans travel for us is remarkable.”
Republic FC will return to action on Saturday, Mar. 18 when they travel to San Francisco to take on the San Francisco Deltas in their final road friendly of the preseason. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Kezar Stadium. Republic FC will return to Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday, Mar. 22 when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.
Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations