Photo courtesy Mark Guthrel / Saint Louis FC
FENTON, Mo. – Sacramento Republic FC led big early, but had to hold on for dear life late as it took a 4-3 victory against Saint Louis FC on Saturday night at World Wide Technology Soccer Park. Sacramento jumped out to an early lead in the fifth minute when Tommy Thompson’s chipped cross was headed home by a late-arriving J.J. Koval, and six minutes later the visitors made it two when Cameron Iwasa notched his first of the night from a low cross by Matt LaGrassa. A Sacramento native, LaGrassa added his second assist in the 17th minute as Octavio Guzman tucked home a back-post cross from the left to leave Republic FC in complete control. Saint Louis pulled a goal back through Mike Ambersley in the 26th minute with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, but another fine cross by Thompson for Iwasa’s restored Republic FC’s three-goal advantage just before the hour-mark. The hosts again cut into the lead with 16 minutes to go when Jordan Roberts’ fierce shot handcuffed Sacramento goalkeeper Evan Newton, and Chad Bond curled home an outstanding free kick in the final minute, but the late rally came up short as Sacramento took its second win in the past three games.
5’ – SAC – J.J. Koval (Tommy Thompson)
11’ – SAC – Cameron Iwasa (Matt LaGrassa)
17’ – SAC – Octavio Guzman (Matt LaGrassa)
26’ – STL – Mike Ambersley (Irvin Herrera)
57’ – SAC – Cameron Iwasa (Tommy Thompson)
74’ – STL – Jordan Roberts
90’ – STL – Chad Bond
Three Things That Matter:
1. The opening 20 minutes of the game put the game in Sacramento’s back pocket before the game was even a quarter over as the visitors sliced open the Saint Louis defense with some incisive crossing and movement in the penalty area to establish an early three-goal lead. Tommy Thompson and Matt LaGrassa both picked up a pair of assists with some beautifully flighted deliveries into the penalty area that Cameron Iwasa was the principal recipient of, and put Republic FC in a commanding position.
2. In the end, however, the game’s opening proved to be a saving grace for Republic FC as Saint Louis found a way to get back into the game in the final half-hour. Sacramento goalkeeper Evan Newton will be disappointed to not have done better on Jordan Roberts’ goal in the 74th minute, but there was nothing he could have done with Chad Bond’s outstanding free kick that made it a one-goal game just before stoppage time. A win’s a win, certainly, but Sacramento will probably walk away feeling it shouldn’t have been as tense as it got late on.
3. On the flipside, Saint Louis will be ruing a night when if not for a disastrous start it could have inserted itself back into the playoff picture. Saint Louis has shown the ability to dig its way out of trouble in the past in games, but with seven games to go in the season, the side now needs to put in a strong run of form if it is to run down the teams ahead of it in the Western Conference standings and earn a place in the postseason.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Matt LaGrassa, Sacramento Republic FC – LaGrassa put in two fine assists in the opening 20 minutes to set up Sacramento with a lead it would need to hold onto late to secure an important three points on the road.
Saint Louis FC at Swope Park Rangers – August 21, 7 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Victory Field
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Portland Timbers 2 – August 20, 11 p.m. ET, Bonney Field