It was a warm and slightly muggy evening out at Bonney Field. Tonight’s game is a match between Sacramento and Orange County Blues F.C. This unusual Monday night affair is a makeup game from the cancelled Fourth of July contest that was called off due to a wildfire near Cal Expo. Another sellout crowd is on hand to watch the Republic F.C. send home Orange County singing the blues. The Tower Bridge Battalion is on hand to warm up the crowd and cheer the home team to a victory.
The game started off with Orange County attacking Sacramento’s defense by constantly pushing the ball down the pitch. Sacramento would lose possession of the ball due to Orange County’s swift attackers and strong defense. The Republic missed a perfect scoring opportunity in the 13th minute when an attacker had a one-on-one confrontation with the goalie. Orange County would often capitalize on the misses and take control of the ball whilst pushing down the pitch.
Sacramento would try a little bit of offensive trickery but Orange County would cut off the passing lanes, take control of the ball and push it into scoring position but couldn't capitalize on any scoring opportunities. The Blues would use stalling tactics like flopping to kill The Republic’s momentum but one of the incidents would warrant a yellow card in the 21st minute to Ivan Mirkovic. The Republic would miss another one-on-one scoring chance in the 23rd minute with a breakaway shot-on-goal attempt. The passing and hesitance of taking a shot-on-goal when Sacramento is in attack mode was bothering the fans and they voiced their opinions very loudly.
The Blue’s head coach Dariush Yazdani was very animated as he yells out his plays and “words of encouragement” to his players from the sidelines. The Republic scored in the 31st minute with a rocket shot from Rodrigo Lopez to take a 1-0 lead. Sacramento would nearly score again in the 33rd minute with a one-on-one against the goalie but the shot-on-goal sailed wide right. Orange County’s Gabriel Gonzales (assisted by Mehrshad Momeni) scored an equalizer in the 34th minute to tie the game at 1-1 and the game would end at the first half tied at one.
The second half started out just like the first with The Blues playing aggressive and constantly attacking The Republic’s defense and roaring past their offense. Both teams started to play chippy with fouls being called on both sides. Sacramento’s Adam Jahn was issued a yellow card in the 50th minute as a caution. Orange County continued their attack and Sacramento dodge a bullet in the 56th minute when a Blues attacker missed a one-on-one shot-on-goal.
Sacramento and Orange County fought tooth and nail for pitch position during the middle of the second period. As the game enter the final fifteen minutes of the game, both teams turned on shutdown mode and neither team was able to score or move the ball down pitch effectively. Sacramento missed scoring opportunities in the 81st minute when both shot-on-goals barely missed the net. The game soon turned into a war of attrition as players on both sides were leaving due to fatigue and several substitutions were made.
After another shot-on-goal from Sacramento in the 83rd minute, both sides got into a violent squabble involving several players. Yellow cards were issued to Patrick McClain of Orange County and Tommy Stewart of Sacramento in the 86th minute. The spat seemed to energize both teams but Sacramento took advantage first and missed an open net goal opportunity. Due to fouls, injuries and substitutions eight minutes were added to the game.
The Republic scores in the 91st minute with a goal from Octavio Guzman giving them a 2-1 lead. The crowd erupts into cheers when the ball hits the net and is freshly motivated. Sacramento continues to harass The Blues’ goalie by immediately making two shot-on-goals. The cheers turned to boos as a foul killed Sacramento’s momentum. Blues' free kick sails way over the goalie box causing the crowd to erupt once again in cheers.
As the final minutes ticked away, both teams continued to play aggressive. Alan Russell from the Blues received a yellow card for flagrantly knocking down a Republic player. Orange County makes one final push to score an equalizer but fails as Sacramento wins the game 2-1. Jake Gleeson played lights out in front of the net just allowing one goal and making several spectacular saves in traffic.
With the win Sacramento improves to 9-5-2 in USL Pro play whilst Orange County Blues F.C. falls to 8-9-0. The Republic F.C. will travel to Virginia to take on the Richmond Kickers this Saturday with a scheduled 4:00 P.M. kick-off PDT. For more details about the club or ticket information please visit http://www.sacrepublicfc.com.