Soccer

Brace yourselves, playoffs are coming: Ochoa’s 2-goal night leads Republic FC to draw

Republic FC defender James Kiffe, front, tries to escape Reno 1868 FC defender Brent Richards on Saturday in Reno. The teams drew 2-2 in the regular-season finale.
Republic FC defender James Kiffe, front, tries to escape Reno 1868 FC defender Brent Richards on Saturday in Reno. The teams drew 2-2 in the regular-season finale. Reno 1868 FC

Republic FC had struggled lately, losing four of their last five entering Saturday’s regular-season finale.

Behind Sammy Ochoa’s two-goal night, Sacramento finished with a 2-2 road draw against Reno 1868 FC.

Republic FC (13-12-7, 46 points) broke a two-game skid as they enter the USL playoffs, which kick off next week.

Ochoa opened the game’s scoring in the 16th minute, heading a cross from James Kiffe past Reno keeper Matt Bersano.

Reno (17-7-8, 59) drew level in the 41st on a low shot by Chris Wehan that rolled into the left side of the net. Antoine Hoppenot put the hosts up 2-1 in the 51st, scoring after he collected the rebound from Evan Newton’s save on Brent Richards.

The visitors responded 16 minutes later. Wilson Kneeshaw received a long pass down the right side and sent a low cross past a diving Bersano, allowing Ochoa to slide in and complete a brace with an equalizer to cap the game’s scoring.

Sacramento will enter the postseason as the seventh or eighth seed in the Western Conference, depending on Sunday’s match between OKC Energy FC and Seattle Sounders FC 2.

According to Republic FC’s website, an Energy FC win, tie or loss by one goal when scoring two or more times sends Sacramento to face Real Monarchs SLC (20-5-7), USL’s top regular-season team with 67 points. If OKC loses by more than one goal, or by one goal while failing to score twice, Republic FC gets San Antonio FC (17-4-11, 62).

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