Early goal from Emrah Klimenta and a strong defensive effort give Sacramento Republic FC a hard earned point in 1-1 draw with visiting San Antonio FC in front of sold out crowd at Papa Murphy’s Park.
Sacramento Republic FC opened the scoring in the 19th minute. Both sides were locked in a back and forth battle before Emrah Klimenta and Danny Barrera linked up for the first goal. Klimenta surged out of the back line with the ball at his feet before finding Barrera in the attacking third. Klimenta continued his run and Barrera slid a through ball in front of Klimenta and gave him enough time and space to get a shot off. Klimenta struck his right-foot through the ball as he sent his one-timed effort past San Antonio FC keeper Lee Johnston and into the net for the 1-0 lead for Republic FC.
San Antonio FC answered shortly after in the 31st minute. Forward AJ Ajeakwa ran onto a through ball from Kris Tyrpak as he found space behind Republic FC’s defense. Ajeakwa seemed to be losing his balance and looked to be going to ground but the forward steadied himself just enough to flick a right-footed shot past Republic FC keeper Evan Newton and into the corner of the net to equalize for San Antonio FC.
Klimenta had a great chance to double up in the 34th minute when he found himself on the end of a Barrera corner kick. Klimenta’s initial shot was blocked, but he secured the rebound and sent a second shot on goal that forced Johnston to block it away. Klimenta was in position to snatch a second rebound and send a third shot on goal, only to have Johnston make another save to start the counterattack. The score would remain 1-1 going into halftime.
Newton was tested in the 60th minute when San Antonio gained ground on the right wing. Midfielder Billy Forbes attacked up the right side before he cut inside and picked his head up. Forbes whipped a left-footed strike on goal and Newton had to get to full stretch to make the save and push the shot away.
Not to be outdone, Johnston answered his call to action in the 72nd minute. Republic FC forward Wilson Kneeshaw sprinted past the defense and onto a lofted ball. Kneeshaw had only Johnston to beat as he sent the shot on goal. Johnston trapped the ball at his feet while going to the ground to make the crucial save.
Republic FC had two golden opportunities to take the lead go begging in the 79th and 87th minutes. Strong buildup play landed the ball at the feet of second-half substitute Gabe Gissie on the right wing. Gissie sent a perfectly driven low cross to the far post that glided past the defense and Johnston. Daniel Trickett-Smith was in prime position on the back post to redirect the ball into the empty net. Trickett-Smith missed the target and sent it just wide of the goal.
Trickett-Smith found redemption in the 87th minute with a perfect corner kick that found the head of Gissie. The midfielder headed the ball back across the face of goal to Jeremy Hall, who then sent his header right back to the center for Wilson Kneeshaw. Kneeshaw could not wrap his foot around the ball as his one-timed shot sailed just over the net and out of play, ending the in a 1-1 draw.
“I enjoyed watching us play tonight,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “I think tactically it worked. It was a wonderful goal for Emrah. I was very pleased with the work rate and the effort.“
Republic FC will take a three-week break from USL play as their next USL match will be Sunday, Jul. 23 against Seattle Sounders FC 2. In the meantime, Republic FC will host CF Pachuca on Saturday, Jul. 15. Kickoff is 8 p.m. at Papa Murphy’s Park. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.
Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations