Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC played to a 0-0 draw in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 fans at Bonney Field on Saturday night. With the draw, Republic FC holds a two-point lead at the top of the Western Conference to conclude the weekend’s action. Sacramento had a pair of chances go close to giving it the lead, as J.J. Koval had a shot saved by WFC2 goalkeeper Spencer Richey and Cameron Iwasa sent a shot off the right post. Iwasa again found the woodwork six minutes before halftime as his shot went off the crossbar and away to safety, and Sacramento continued to hold the upper hand as the game went into the second half as Danny Barrera shot just wide with a little more than 15 minutes to go. Vancouver’s Ben McKendry poked a shot just wide after good work by Brett Levis for the visitors, while Republic FC’s Carlton Cole forced a good save from Richey with two minutes to go, but WFC2 held on to earn a point as honors finished even.
Three Things That Matter:
1. Republic FC controlled most of the flow of play, but couldn’t quite find the breaks in front of goal to build a cushion at the top of the Western Conference standings. Despite throwing almost everything forward late in the game, including the introduction of former Premier League forward Carlton Cole for his debut for the club, Sacramento was unable to take a fourth consecutive victory as Cameron Iwasa’s pair of shots off the woodwork were the closest the side came to a go-ahead goal.
2. Vancouver bent a little defensively, but didn’t break as it held on for a valuable road point on Saturday night as Pa-Modou Kah made his debut for the side as an anchor at the center of defense. Signed earlier this week from the Whitecaps’ MLS squad to act as a player/assistant coach for WFC2, Kah’s constant communication with the rest of the back line helped Vancouver earn a shutout and return home to face its home-and-home series with Seattle with solid momentum.
3. Combined with the result of the other top-four clash in the Western Conference on Saturday night, the stretch run in the Western Conference is set to be a classic. Rio Grande Valley FC could now find a path to finishing first if it can take advantage of its game in hand on Republic FC, while WFC2 and OKC Energy FC are both waiting in the wings should either side give them an opportunity by dropping points.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Spencer Richey, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – Vancouver’s goalkeeper was solid throughout the contest, and made a big late save on a point-blank effort by Carlton Cole to preserve the shutout and a valuable road point.
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Orange County Blues FC – Sept. 3, 10:30 p.m. ET, Bonney Field
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Sept. 2, 10:30 p.m. ET, Starfire Stadium