Wednesday night’s game was a warm one as the Sacramento Republic F.C. took to the pitch to face the visiting Charleston Battery. A sweaty and balmy evening greeted the fans as they entered Bonney Field to cheer on their home team heroes as they battle for a possible third seed in the USL post season as they are only a single point behind the Richmond Kickers in the standings. A victory tonight and a Richmond lost to Orange County this Saturday will make this scheme come to fruition.
A sellout crowd welcomed the Sacramento Republic F.C. as they prepared for the game. The Battery looked goos as well in their warm ups and the got loosen up and ready for action. If tonight’s weather is any indication how the action will be on the pitch then it’s going to be a real barn burner. This game is a must win for both teams and post season implications are on the line for both clubs.
Sacramento opened the game by control the opening kick and maintained possession of the ball inside of Charleston’s territory during the opening minutes of the game. The Battery made a few futile attempts to move the ball down pitch but where thwarted by the Republic’s stingy defense. Sacramento kept Charleston’s goalie Odisnel Cooper by crowding around the net and occupying their side of the pitch. Midfielders Quiton Griffith and Adam Mena provided defensive backup for their goalie as the Republic’s attackers continued to apply pressure.
Sacramento draws first blood a Rodrigo Lopez scores in the 12th minute of the game giving them a 1-0 lead. Charleston has been motived by the score and is making their first serious scoring threat in the sixteen minute and they score from a goal by defender Colin Falvey who scores in the 17th minute tying the game at 1-1. Sacramento and Charleston continue to battle on the pitch as both teams have moved the ball up and down with ease. Rodrigo Lopez score again in 25th minute making it a 2-1 game as the Republic retake the lead in the middle of the first half.
The Republic continues to try and add to their lead as they missed back-to-back shot-on-goal attempts in the 37th and 38th minute as the Battery continues to hold on defensively amidst a barrage of kicks from Sacramento. As the half comes to a conclusion, Sacramento enters clock killing mode by Charleston is still trying to score an equalizer in the finals seconds to make it a tie game. The Battery’s latest offensive surge fizzled in the extra time as the Republic misses a one-on-one with the goalie and the clock continues to run. Charleston makes another run but is stopped by Jake Gleeson as the half ends with Sacramento clinging on to a 2-1 lead.
The second half started out just like the first with Sacramento dominating the opening minutes. Charleston was game however and fought tooth and nail as both teams battled for position on the pitch. The Republic and the Battery made several shot-on-goal attempts during the first fifteen minutes of the second half but the stellar goalie play from Jake Gleeson and Odisnel Cooper kept the ball out of each others respective nets. As the game progressed into the middle of the second, Sacramento and Charleston continued to play aggressively as they tried to put another goal upon the scoreboard.
Charleston tried to implement an offensive attack in the 67th minute with quick passes and ball control but it was easily snuffed out by Sacramento with excellent slide tackling forcing the Battery to fold. Sacramento moved down pitch to make a scoring attack of their own in the 71st minute and was thwarted by Charleston’s stingy defense. The Battery made an aggressive stand inside the Republic’s side of the pitch but Gleeson’s play in front of the net along with his defenders stonewalled Charleston’s attack. The Battery continued to camp out inside Sacramento’s territory and nearly scored in the 74th minute.
The Republic with the ball has set themselves up midfield and are pushing into Battery territory but after several attempts inside they were repelled by their defensive but a striker made it through but was unable to score in the 78th minute. The final ten minutes of the game were a real nail biter as Charleston is looking to score an equalizer whilst Sacramento is trying to extend their lead to two goals giving them some breathing room in the final minutes. The Republic finally scored in the 82nd minute when Steven Evans kicked in a goal making it a 3-1 game. Sacramento nearly scores again in the 83rd minute but the shot-on-goal attempt sails over the goal.
Charleston gets desperate in the final five minutes of the game and is playing in “everything but the kitchen sink” mode. They have moved the ball down pitch but lost possession midway and Sacramento now enters time killing play with three minutes left in the game. Battery’s goal Odisnel Cooper has been on his toes all game and fatigued is setting in but he continues to man his position despite being under constant fire from Sacramento’s attackers. Jake Gleeson has been under pressure as well with the Battery continously harassing hims but has maintained his composure under fire and has only given up one goal.
Sacramento wins the game 3-1 and ends Charleston’s unbeaten streak. With the win Sacramento temporarly moves into second place in the USL Pro standings and extends their unbeaten streak at Bonney Field to nine games. For more information about Sacramento Republic F.C.'s late season run into the post season please visit their website and if you're interested in learning more about the USL Pro check out their site as well for all of the latest news from the league.