Sac Republic FC: Matchday #2

Sac Republic FC: Matchday #2

On March 16th the Republic played their second game of their 2019 campaign in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The field condition were aesthetically pleasing. The game kicked off in the long shadows of the stadium, in the hour of a six pm local kickoff. Large banks of snow lined the advertisement signs on the boundary lines. It just looked gnarly and it’s the conditions that would be fun to play in on FIFA.

Estimated attendance was near four thousand and it’s just a really cool stadium set up. It’s small this small stadium and there’s a busy highway behind one goal. Behind the other goal stand the Switchback ultras. They’re almost on top of the goal and they hold these flags that blow in the wind.

The beauty of soccer is what happens on the pitch and between the lines. I’ll stop dabbling on the stadium atmosphere.

Sacramento came out in this line up that’s a hybrid of 4-4-2 and at times a 3-5-2. With Taintor playing left back, it allowed Gomez to get up the field into attacking position. (I’ll mention more about this later on) Bijev, a starter in the opener, injured his hamstring midweek and didn’t make the trip. Sam Werner replaced Bijev in the starting lineup and other than those two changes, the starters remained the same.

It’s true that it’s early in the season and the first half was a naked display of offseason rust. Dribbling through channels that lead directly into hungry defenders rendering you optionless, heavy first touches in advancing positions that lead to turnovers, and coughing up the ball on basic passes are all symptoms of an early season team that’s not in form.

There’s good and bad in this review, so stick with me.

In the first half, Sacramento possessed the ball 39% and had seven shots and two in target. The Colorado Springs Switchbacks shot the ball six times and none of the shots were on frame.

This is a testament to Sacramento’s defense making themselves big and blocking shots and making it difficult to shoot on and playing strong and smart and making well timed plays on the ball when the opportunity arose.

The first and only goal was a penalty shot by Cameron Iwasa tapped just a soft floating ball past the keeper. The penalty came from a run of play where Iwasa was driving towards goal up the left of the pitch and made a pass to Werner as he was overlapping him on the left. Werner met the ball at the goal line, just inside the penalty area, and sent a cross into the box. Jamal Jack fouled him as he sent the ball in. It was an ugly foul that sent Sam flying into the billboard posters along the goal line. 

The game ended one to nil and Sacramento sneaks out of Colorado Springs with three points

On the night, Sacramento shot thirteen times with four shots on target. They possessed the ball 39% of the game and had the meager pass accuracy of just 61%.


Player Ratings:

G - Josh Cohen 7.0 With only two shots on goal, Josh did not have much work tonight. Nonetheless, he put in a solid performance and his save in the 44th earned him this 7.0 rating.

RB - Shannon Gomez 6.0 Shannon is continuing to grow as a player but often times his positioning isn’t the best as he transition forwards and leaves huge gaps of open space behind him.

CB - Haris Chantzopolous 6.5 Not the best night for the defender but not the worst night, either. His choppy defense stopped shots and  saved the Josh Cohen from making saves. Encouraging to see his ideas come to fruition with his long balls that spark the team to play with innovation

CB - Dekel Keinen  6.5 Had his hands full with Saeed Robinson and played well all night. No big gaffes on a relatively quiet performance.

LB - Mitchell Taintor 8.0 Did it all. Stopped shots, picked pockets, showed great athleticism getting forward. He’s been a real treat watching in this left back position.

CDM - Ray Saari 6.0 Played hard and forced the Switchbacks to mostly play to the wide areas of the field where they could be dismantled by our outside backs. Did loads of running and took good steps, breaking up plays and to closing down lanes and make it hard for the Switchbacks to find passing lanes. Not the smooth operator in the possession game and that’s one thing we needed to close out the one-nil game.

CDM - Drew Skundrich 5.5 As usual, played with fire and intensity and it seems like he can be everywhere on the field, at once. This is good and bad because he’s inconsistent in possession and he makes fouls in inopportune moments in dangerous places.

RM - Sam Werner 6.0 Took the place of injured Villyan Bijev and the team didn’t lose a beat. Stretched the defense towards his wing position and sent good passes into the middle. The catalyst for the penalty that was s the only teams goal.

LM - Tyler Blackwood 6.0 Relatively quiet evening on offense but showed that knack for forcing players to cough up balls in dangerous positions. Great play late dribbling into the corners and wasting time closing out the game.

CAM - Cam Iwasa 6.0 Inability to crack the Switchback defense, in the run of play, despite mostly a technically sound night is why this score is so low. Opened his season goal scoring account on a penalty kick which he lofted past MLS loanee Clint Irwin.

CF - Stefano Bonomo 6.0 Ran hard all night and had some good shots on target.



Subs:

CM - Hayden Partain 7.0 Came in as a sub  for the final fifteen and replaced winger Sam Werner. Stepped into the midfield to play a more defensive role and did a great job. Broke up plays and played technically sound football, positionally.

CM - Jaime Villarreal Incomplete Quiet night in the final 10 minutes or so. Brought in to be strong on the ball and provide that extra bit of confidence holding the ball and not making mistakes in lengthy stretches of possession.

CM - Matt Mahoney Incomplete Played all of 1 minute but used as a sub to waste time late in the gamesq

Gabriel Corrie