Photo courtesy of Kiel Maddox
FRESNO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC claimed the first of three meetings between it and Fresno FC this season, earning a 1-0 victory at Chukchansi Park on Wednesday evening. Luis Espino scored the game’s only goal in the 37th minute, capitalizing on a rebound in front of goal after Jure Matjasic’s shot on frame was saved by Fresno netminder C.J. Cochran. While he was unable to record the clean sheet, the score line could have been much worse if not for Cochran. The goalkeeper made a brilliant stop, diving to his left and tipping the ball over the crossbar with his right hand, against Jaime Villarreal’s right-footed curler in the 67th minute. In total, Cochran recorded five saves, one catch, one punch and one clearance on the night, while his counterpart – Josh Cohen – had to make six saves. Fresno’s best opportunity to equalize came in the 81st minute, as Christian Chaney worked his way down the field and passed the ball to Danny Barrera, who fired a left-footed curler just wide of Cohen’s right post. With the result, Sacramento improves to 8-3-4 on the year, while Fresno falls to 3-5-7 this campaign.
37’ – SAC – Luis Espino Vazquez
Three Things That Matter:
1. Sacramento has won eight games this season, and seven of those have been won by just one goal. Republic FC’s only win by two or more goals this season was a 3-1 result against Phoenix Rising FC on May 19. Earning wins by a close margin may make Republic FC fans nervy at times, but it also shines a light on the team’s impressive resolve to earn points no matter the circumstance.
2. Fresno falls at home for the first time since March 17, when the expansion side kicked off its inaugural USL campaign against Las Vegas Lights FC. The team now has a 2-2-4 home record to date.
3. With the Swope Park Rangers defeating Real Monarchs SLC 3-2 on Wednesday, Sacramento moves closer towards the top of the Western Conference table with its victory. Republic FC will look to take control of the top spot in the weeks ahead, despite facing a challenging schedule. The 2014 USL Cup champion will face playoff and title contenders in San Antonio FC, Saint Louis FC, the Monarchs and the Rangers, as well as a rematch against Fresno FC at Chukchansi Park June 30.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Luis Espino Vazquez, Sacramento Republic FC – Vazquez scored his second goal of the season, the game-winning tally, and completed 95.7 percent of his passes.
Fresno FC vs. Swope Park Rangers – June 17, 9 p.m. ET, Chukchansi Park
Sacramento Republic FC at San Antonio FC – June 16, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Field