Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC and Phoenix Rising FC played to a 0-0 draw on Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park. Sacramento had a pair of chances blocked away off a corner kick in the 17th minute as a volleyed finish by Carlos Rodriguez and follow-up chance for Jaime Villarreal were both denied by the Rising FC defense, but Phoenix carved open a big chance a minute later as a clever through-ball by Solomon Asante sent Gladson Awako through for a close-range chance that was kept out by Republic FC goalkeeper Josh Cohen. Chances were relatively sparse in the first half, but just before halftime Sacramento was awarded a penalty kick as Jura Matjasic was pushed over in the penalty area by Phoenix’s Amadou Dia only for Jeremy Hall to shoot over the crossbar as the game went to the break scoreless. The hosts went close just past the hour-mark when Cameron Iwasa fired a shot just wide of the left post from 20 yards, and moments later Rising FC’s Chris Cortez was just squeezed out as he slid to try and turn home a low cross from the left. Phoenix’s Jason Johnson then hit the right post from the left side of the penalty area with a dipping shot in the 69th minute, but that was the closest either side came to earning all three points as the game ended scoreless.
Three Things That Matter:
1. Sacramento was clearly brimming with confidence after Wednesday night’s 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory against Seattle Sounders FC, and it was impressive how many players who went 120 minutes not only put in solid displays but were then ready to go in Saturday’s game. As in that contest, though, Republic FC failed to take advantage of its chances to claim victory, and will definitely be the more disappointed side and be aiming to improve its finishing on Wednesday night when it heads south to Fresno.
2. There was very little to compare in Saturday night’s matchup to when the teams first met three weeks ago, with Phoenix appearing to play more conservatively on the road which in turn helped shape a very different contest overall. Sacramento recorded marginally more shots and more possession than in the first outing as a result, but with Jeremy Hall’s missed penalty kick the most glaring example the hosts failed to register a shot on goal as Rising FC tightened up its back line to make sure it took a point back to Arizona.
3. Had either side taken victory on Saturday night it would have given that side a big leg up in the battle for second place in the Western Conference, but with the game ending all square it benefited both conference leader Real Monarchs SLC – which now holds a five-point lead at the top of the conference with a game in hand on the rest of the top four – and the Portland Timbers 2, whose result earlier in the night lifted the side past both Sacramento and Phoenix. After a cagey affair, both Sacramento and Phoenix now face a busy week ahead needing to gain ground on their conference rivals.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
James Musa, Phoenix Rising FC – Musa was key in the center of midfield for the visitors as he recorded six interceptions, four tackles and three clearances to help Phoenix record a shutout.
Sacramento Republic FC at Fresno FC – June 13, 10 p.m. ET, Chukchanski Park
Phoenix Rising FC vs. Las Vegas Lights FC – June 13, 10:30 p.m. ET, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex