Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC
OKLAHOMA CITY – Sacramento Republic FC got a late goal from James Kiffe as it brought OKC Energy FC’s eight-game undefeated streak to an end with a 1-0 victory in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 at Taft Stadium on Tuesday night. Chances were few and far between in the first half, as only Sacramento forced a save through a shot by Danny Barrera. The visitors almost found the breakthrough early in the second half when Cameron Iwasa forced a near-post save from OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi, but for the most-part the defenses held sway as chances were either held up, or blocked, in the attacking third. The breakthrough finally came seven minutes from the end, when Kiffe put away a cut back from Cameron Iwasa to give Republic FC a crucial victory on the road.
83’ – SAC – James Kiffe (Cameron Iwasa)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Sacramento had a tough go of it on its five-game road trip, but James Kiffe’s late strike handed the side a welcome conclusion as it moved back into the top four of the Western Conference. Republic FC has played far better this season, but at this point of the season the victory will be all that mattered to Coach Paul Buckle’s side as it returns home to Bonney Field on Saturday night.
2. Energy FC has had a joker to play in its back pocket in its past two games, but two scoreless performances have again proven the adage that it’s better to have points in hand than games in hand as OKC’s eight-game undefeated streak came to an end. OKC will now visit a Rio Grande Valley FC side that has been strong at home on Saturday night with the chance to see its chance of stretching into the top two at the end of the season in serious peril.
3. James Kiffe has been one of the most consistent performers for Republic FC since he joined the side midway through its championship season in 2014, which made it somewhat appropriate that he be the player who gave his side victory on Tuesday night. Disciplined in defense, Kiffe has a good sense of when to join the attack, and he put himself in the right place at the right time to finish off a neat pull back from the left by Cameron Iwasa, and give his side the sort of win that can set a season headed back in the right direction.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
James Kiffe, Sacramento Republic FC – Kiffe scored the only goal of the game, handing Republic FC a big boost to conclude its five-game road trip as it moved back into the top four of the Western Conference standings.
OKC Energy FC at Rio Grande Valley FC – August 6, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toro Stadium
Sacramento Republic FC vs. San Antonio FC – August 6, 11 p.m. ET, Bonney Field