Another hot summer night out at Bonney Field as the Sacramento Republic F.C. prepare to face the visiting Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The Republic return to USL Pro League play after spending the last week and a half playing three international friendlies with U.K. Association Football clubs Rangers and West Bromwich Albion F.C. Sacramento is wearing their white and red away jerseys making the Riverhounds wear their home kit which happens to be all black. Another home field benefit that will certainly play a factor in tonight's game.
The Riverhounds came out of the gate and pushed the ball down the pitch but were unable to score. Sacramento counterattacked by constantly maintaining possession on Pittsburgh’s side and made several shot-on-goal attempts in the opening minutes. The Republic’s persistence would pay off as they would score in the 7th minute with a goal from Tommy Stewart giving Sacramento a 1-0 lead. Pittsburgh’s players were being affected by the hot weather as a couple of them doubled over from either cramps or exhaustion in the first several minutes of play.
Sacramento would score again in the 33rd minute with a goal from Tommy Stewart with an assist from Rodrigo Lopez. This would be the second goal of the game for Stewart as the home team goes up 2-0. The Riverhounds would have no answer for Sacramento’s persistent attacking offense which has held possession inside of their territory for most of the first. Whenever Pittsburgh manages to take the ball they're unable to hold it for more than a minute or so before losing it to the tough Republic defense.
In the 38th minute Sacramento makes another push down pitch into the frazzled Riverhounds’ defense but were stopped as Pittsburgh attempts a counterattack of their own. The Republic continues to dominate on both sides of the pitch as they harass the Riverhounds defenders and their goalie Mike Lisch. Both teams are trying to maneuver themselves into a possible scoring strike in the final minutes of the first. The half ends with Sacramento leading Pittsburgh 2-0.
The second half opens up with Sacramento driving down the pitch but were unable to score on the opening possession. A brief strike from the Riverhounds was repelled as the Republic counterattack with a strike of their own and pushed it into Pittsburgh territory. Both teams moved the ball all over the pitch in the first five minutes but neither was able to score. Sacramento made several shot-on-goal attempts but the Riverhounds’ goalie was able to either defend them or the shots went wide to the right.
Jake Gleeson continues to display his great goal keeping skills as he has withstood several strikes from the Riverhounds whilst making a few tremendous saves in the clutch. Pittsburgh has been on a roll in the 59th minute with their ball movement and control in Sacramento’s side of the pitch. They have made two shot-on-goal attempts but they were both easily defended by Gleeson. In the 63rd minute Riverhounds’ goalie Lisch defended two shot-on-goal attempts from Sacramento as they desperately try to punch in another goal to pad their lead.
Despite being overmatched and worn out from the heat, the Riverhounds have been hanging tough with the Republic because this came could have been an easy blowout if it wasn't for their great team play. Sacramento scores in the 69th minute with a rocket shot from Rodrigo Lopez giving them a 3-0 lead. The Riverhounds have been fighting off a deluge of a strikes from the Republic as they continue to control the ball on Pittsburgh side of the pitch. Pittsburgh's Mike Lisch has been making saves and blocking shot-on-goals as Sacramento continues to pour it on in the final ten minutes of the game.
Pittsburgh finally makes a move into Sacramento’s territory in the 80th minute but were unable to make a shot as Sacramento immediately takes possession and counterattacks with a shot that sails directly over the Riverhounds’ goalie. Pittsburgh’s striker makes a quick move down pitch in the 82nd minute and sends a blast which is stealthily blocked by Gleeson in front of the net. Adam Jahn scores in the 84th minute making it a 4-0 game. Sacramento scores again with a blast from Rodrigo Lopez as the Riverhounds’ fatigued goalie gives up another goal making it a 5-0 game.
The game ends with the final of Sacramento Republic F.C. 5 and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0. Jake Gleeson records his second straight shutout whilst Tommy Stewart and Rodrigo Lopez score two goals apiece in the victory. Sacramento will travel to Peoria to face the Arizona United S.C. next Saturday. Republic F.C.'s next home game will be Saturday, August 9th against the Oklahoma City Energy with kick-off scheduled for 7:30 P.M. at Bonney Field.
For Sacramento Republic F.C. ticket information, team news and much more please visit http://www.sacrepublicfc.com for more details.