Soccer

Republic FC falls 2-0 to Portland for third straight loss

Republic FC has been in a three-game funk before. In fact, it was almost a year ago exactly the last time Republic FC dropped three straight, as they have this season after the Portland Timbers 2 beat them 2-0 Saturday night in front of another sold-out crowd at Papa Murphy’s Park.

The three-game skid last season were all 1-0 losses, and this current streak include 1-0 losses to Oklahoma City Energy FC and the Swope Park Rangers. Sacramento responded in 2016 by going 6-1-3 over its next 10 games. Republic FC goes back on the road for their next three games and don’t play in Sacramento again until May 20 against the Tulsa Roughnecks.

Sacramento had many chances in the second half but couldn’t find the net. Their frustration was evident as the game turned chippy and the referee spent a lot of time stepping between players.

Timbers 2 midfielder Victor Arboleda hammered home a loose ball in the 68th minute to put the Timbers 2 up 2-0. Augustine Williams got Sacramento keeper Evan Newton to come up to make a save, but Newton couldn’t clear it and Arboleda ripped a skipper past a diving Chris Christian in front of the goal.

Villyan Bijev scored on a penalty kick in the 40th minute. He got Evan Newton to commit to his left and tapped the ball high into the left side of the goal. The referee could have added a minute or two of stoppage time just from Republic FC players’ admonishments.

Sacramento almost had a first-half equalizer in stoppage time as Danny Barrera chipped one to Trevin Caesar over Timbers 2 defenders. Caesar elected to gather the perfect pass with his left knee and try to poke it past a diving Wade Hamilton, who managed to get a glove on the ball.

Republic FC had gone six consecutive regular season matches without a loss at home dating back to a 3-2 loss to Real Monarchs SLC on July 6, 2016. The club had just one loss in its last 13 home matches before Saturday’s defeat.

Timbers 2 entered the match on a five-match losing streak. The team lost each of those matches by a single goal. Portland also started the 2016 season slowly, losing four of its first five matches, the only victory coming against Sacramento on April 17. Portland finished last season on a five-match win streak and missed out on the USL playoffs because of a goal differential tiebreaker.

Mark Billingsley covers Republic FC for The Bee. Reach him at editorwriter@att.net or @editorwriter001.

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