Photo courtesy of Sacramento Republic FC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In a battle between two of the top Western Conference sides, Sacramento Republic FC and San Antonio FC finished in a 1-1 draw on Saturday in front of a crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park. San Antonio, which sits second in the West, found a 31st-minute equalizer from Akwafei Ajeakwa to offset a tally from Republic FC defender Emrah Klimenta in the 19th minute. San Antonio moves to 10-1-5 (35 points) overall and 5-1-2 on the road. Sacramento, which saw an end to its three-game winning streak, is now 7-6-4 (25 points) overall and 4-1-2 at home.
19’ – SAC – Emrah Klimenta (Danny Barrera)
31’ – SA – Akwafei Ajeakwa (Kris Tyrpak)
#SACvSA: Full match and Opta box score
Three Things That Mattered:
1. San Antonio got off to a flying start with one of its defenders finding his way into the attack in the 19th minute. Center back Emrah Klimenta made an energetic run and captain Danny Barrera recognized it with the through ball to lead him on. Klimenta snuck his shot inside the near right post to notch his second goal of the season, while Barrera tallied his fourth assist of the campaign. Barrera had a rare short night as he made way to Harrison Heath, a loanee from Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United FC, as he entered in the 70th minute.
2. San Antonio had a nice response with Akwafei Ajeakwa stumbling but finding enough balance to slot a shot inside the left of the frame to tie things up at 1-1 in the 31st minute. Kris Tyrpak set him up as Ajeakwa notched his third goal of the campaign. It was a good reaction for a club that hasn’t been behind all that often this season. The offensive chances from that point on were a bit sporadic for San Antonio from that point on, though, with Billy Forbes’ long-distance attempt in the 60th minute being one of the few that stood out as a potential opportunity to grab a lead.
3. San Antonio goalkeeper Diego Restrepo was serving a one-game suspension for his sending off during SAFC’s 1-0 loss to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC last week. That meant just the second start of the season for Lee Johnston in net, and he was certainly tested early on. Johnston even stopped a shot by Klimenta with his face in the 33rd minute during another frenetic sequence by host Sacramento. It required a brief appearance by the training staff, but Johnston forged ahead. Johnston certainly had a standout moment in the 72nd minute when he faced Wilson Kneeshaw one-on-one and came up with a clutch save with his legs; Johnston was alert again in the 77th minute running well off his line for a clearance to prevent another potential Kneeshaw scoring chance.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Emrah Klimenta, Sacramento Republic FC – Klimenta made his presence felt several times in the attack with the game’s opening goal and another mini-barrage that could have resulted in another tally if not for a strong stance by San Antonio’s defense.
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2 – July 23, 11 p.m. ET, Papa Murphy’s Park
San Antonio FC vs. OKC Energy FC – July 14, 9 p.m. ET, Toyota Field