A young Sacramento Republic FC squad, including five academy players, battle Sacramento State Men’s Soccer Team to a scoreless draw. Match also marked the return of Republic FC defender Emrah Klimenta, who played in his first minutes since ACL surgery in July 2016.
Despite Republic FC enjoying much of the possession in the first half, it was Sacramento State that had the first serious chance at a goal in the 9th minute. After an attack by Republic FC, Sac State started a counter attack that saw the collegiate team earning a 3-on-2 attack. Midfielder Paul Geyer played down the middle of the field before laying the ball off to Alejandro Renteria who was running wide right. Renteria took a few touches before striking a low shot toward goal, but Republic FC Dominik Jakubek was quick to a knee to save the shot and preserve the shutout.
Republic FC had their strongest looks on goal in the 40th and 44th minutes, after dominating more of the first half possession. In the 40th minute it was Daniel Trickett-Smith who found space in the middle of the field around 30 yards from goal and fired a strike toward goal. The shot looked destined for goal, but Sac State goalkeeper James Del Curto was able to jump and parry the ball out of danger.
In the 44th minute Lamin Suma took the ball out wide left and went one-on-one with his defender. After beating his man, Suma sent a cross toward the middle where forward Christian Chaney was making a run. Chaney was able to get a head on the ball, but only able to flick it back to Gabe Gissie who was making a run on the right side of the box. Gissie was able to hit a shot toward goal, but the ball went just wide right, keeping the match scoreless at the break.
The second half saw much of the same for the young Republic FC team. They would find their first good look at goal in the 47th minute after Academy defender Matteo Sorrentino stole the ball near the midline. Sorrentino drove down the middle of the field before laying the ball off to Trickett-Smith who was running parallel on the right side. Trickett-Smith took a few touches before sending a looping shot toward goal, but his shot went over the right corner of the goal.
In the 75th minute Wilson Kneeshaw would create another good look for Republic FC. Kneeshaw showed some fancy footwork, beating multiple defenders as he drove down the right side of the field. The forward then played the ball back to Academy midfielder Roberto Hategan, who sent a perfect left-footed cross toward the middle of the box. Forward Harry Williams fought off his man as he leapt for the cross, connecting with the ball and sending a headed shot toward goal. The shot however was just high and over the ball as the match would end in a scoreless draw.
The match marked a special moment for Republic FC defender Emrah Klimenta who returned to action for the first time since injuring the ACL on his left knee on July 2, 2016. Klimenta played 27 minutes against Sac State before being subbed off and greeted to a standing ovation from his teammates on the bench.
“It felt great to get out on the field after such a long time, even if it was just for a few minutes,” said Klimenta about his return. “I have been looking forward to this moment since the day that I got injured and it finally happened. I was happy that all the hard work that myself and the training staff put in has paid off. All in all it was a happy moment for me.”
The match also provided an opportunity for Republic FC Academy players to earn minutes with the first team. Republic FC U-18 Academy members Sorrentino, Giovanni Aguilar and Francis Avoce and U-16 Academy members Hategan and Oscar Govea all saw action against Sac State. All five Academy players were on the field for the final 17 minutes of the match.
Republic FC will return to Bonney Field on Saturday, Mar. 4 when they take on FC Cincinnati in a friendly match that pits two of the top teams in the USL against each other. Kickoff is 5:30 p.m. Tickets to the match are still available and may be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations