A dominant 4-0 victory over a third-tier team Wednesday night did a lot to lighten the mood around Republic FC. The previous six matches resulted in five losses and a tie and Sacramento scored no goals in those games, a span stretching 563 minutes.
But Harry Williams scored 12 minutes into Wednesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup second-round match against FC Anahuac and the shutout streak ended at 575 minutes. Three more goals would come, as well as a sense of relief.
“We recovered a bit on Thursday and (Friday) we didn’t do a lot,” Republic FC coach Paul Buckle said. “But, yeah, the mood was much better.”
But some fans are clearly at odds with Buckle. Several fans held anti-Buckle signs in the north stands.
“I saw it last season, too,” Buckle said of the signs. “It’s part of the game. Obviously, I don’t expect everyone to be happy with the results. We didn’t have good results at the early part of last season, too.”
During the losing streak Buckle wasn’t concerned with the team’s efforts or shape. Technically, he said, the team was sound. The goals just didn’t follow. He was concerned, though, with his team’s mental makeup. How would they respond to the early-season adversity?
“If you go on a run like we’ve been on, they’re humans,” Buckle said. “They’re human beings and confidence plays a part, especially at the top. Win, lose or draw you’re on to the next one, especially when you’re only nine games into the league.”
Republic FC to host U.S. Open match– Republic FC will host Reno 1868 FC at 7:30 p.m. on May 31 at Papa Murphy’s Park in the third round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. All tickets are $18 and will go on sale on May 22.
Republic FC advanced with its 4-0 victory over FC Anahuac on Wednesday. Republic FC has advanced to the third round every year of its existence and are 2-1-0 in the third round. The lone loss came last season.
“It was my fault last year that we were eliminated because I chose to rest some of the first team players and it backfired,” Buckle said. “I said this time around I wouldn’t do that. If we’re going to be beaten you pay full respect now to the opposition. I’m delighted to go through and we do want to have a Cup run.”
Reno 1868 FC advanced with a 4-3 penalty kick victory over OSA FC (NPSL) after drawing 1-1 in extra time. Reno is a USL expansion squad and participating in the U.S. Open Cup for the first time.
Harry’s hat– Harry Williams had a chance to get a hat trick Wednesday against FC Anahuac, but Buckle elected to take him off the pitch about 15 minutes into the second half.
Williams was fine with the breather and with his team comfortably in front and pressing its advantage on the overmatched UPSL squad from Las Vegas.
“I had a few opportunities so I feel like I should have got it,” Williams said. “I was happy with two tonight. I was happy to have the minutes and get the goals. It was nice to be back in front of these amazing fans.”
Williams was deemed the “Prince of Quails” last season by the Republic FC fan base. The club introduced quails as mascots during a memorable Aprils Fools joke in 2016. The club doubled down on the prank by actually producing an alternate team logo featuring two quails named Urbs and Indominata. Williams is a popular player from England and shares a first name with Prince Harry so the nickname stuck.
“Even my parents say it now,” Williams said.
Klimenta gets the call– Republic FC defender Emrah Klimenta has been called up to the Montenegro National Team and will join the team in Podgorica, Montenegro on Wednesday. He’ll stay with the team through its World Cup Qualifying match against Armenia on Jun. 10. Before that, Montenegro will play a friendly against Iran on June 4.
“We are delighted for Emrah,” Buckle said. “After coming back from a terrible (knee) injury, he has done well to get back in our team and has done incredibly well to earn another national call-up. We are very proud of him and what we are doing here at Republic FC.”
He’ll miss four USL games while playing for Montenegro, including the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game against Reno 1868 FC.
Da Fonte is missed–In 2016, former Republic FC defender Mike da Fonte had four goals on seven shots on goal, all off set pieces as the defender moved up near the goal on corner and direct kicks. He’s now with the MLS Colorado Rapids.
Sacramento has missed his tough-nosed defense in front of the goal and his penchant for putting the ball into the net on set pieces. Sacramento has not scored a goal this season off a set play.
Mark Billingsley covers Republic FC for The Bee. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @editorwriter001.