Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC’s Jeremy Hall scored with eight minutes to go to earn his side a 1-0 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 fans on Saturday night at Papa Murphy’s Park. WFC2’s Marco Bustos forced a good low save by Sacramento goalkeeper Evan Newton in the sixth minute, while Republic FC’s Wilson Kneeshaw shot wide from 12 yards a minute later as the teams exchanged early chances. Sacramento’s Trevin Caesar also headed over off a good cross by Sammy Ochoa in the 21st minute as the hosts continued to press to take the lead, but Republic FC was unable to capitalize on numerous chances before the break as Tyler Blackwood had a pair of chances blocked, and Ochoa sent a finish wide of the left post. Sacramento’s pressure continued into the second half, and Chris Christian almost found the opening goal in the 65th minute as Jeremy Hall’s free kick produced a powerful header, but an equally great save by Vancouver’s Spencer Richey with his right hand. Bustos again forced a good save from Newton with 15 minutes to go with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, but with eight minutes to go Blackwood was brought down in the penalty area for Republic FC, and Hall sent his penalty kick into the top-right corner of the net to give the hosts the lead, and in the end a valuable victory.
82’ – SAC – Jeremy Hall (penalty)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Saturday’s game had the potential to be one of those frustrating nights for Republic FC’s attack, where as much as they tried to find the opening goal, a combination of energetic defending, good goalkeeping, and poor finishing conspired to keep the game scoreless. Chris Christian’s header in the 65th minute might on another night have produced the lead, only for WFC2 goalkeeper Spencer Richey to produce a massive save, but when the hosts were awarded a penalty kick with eight minutes to go, Jeremy Hall stepped up and put away as good a penalty kick as you’ll see to earn Republic FC an important three points.
2. As important as the three points were on Saturday night, Sacramento will again be concerned it wasn’t able to put away its opponent sooner as it takes aim at a top-four place in the Western Conference. With a good string of games coming up over the next few weeks starting next weekend in Portland, getting the attack into a rhythm over the final stretch of the season and into the postseason is likely to be the focus as the side finished with 22 total shots against Vancouver, only three of which were on target. That ratio has to improve for Sacramento to accomplish what it hopes to at the end of this season.
3. Vancouver’s season of disappointments continued against Sacramento, as it looked close to earning a good point on the road thanks to a solid defensive display, only for another penalty kick concession to cost the side points for the second time in a week. While on this occasion it was likely a fair result for Sacramento to take home the victory, the manner in which it arrived after Wednesday’s late penalty kick for Rio Grande Valley FC earned the Toros a draw against Vancouver will be another lesson for the young squad as it looks to try and get back in the win column next time out.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jeremy Hall, Sacramento Republic FC – Hall kept his cool and produced a fine penalty kick to earn Sacramento victory, in addition to a solid display in the center of midfield that saw him win and distribute possession well.
Sacramento Republic FC at Portland Timbers 2 – August 13, 5 p.m. ET, Providence Park
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at Seattle Sounders FC 2 – August 13, 9:30 p.m. ET, Starfire Stadium