Two San Jose Earthquakes players with area ties ruined an otherwise impressive performance by Republic FC in Saturday night’s friendly between the affiliates at Bonney Field.
Former UC Davis forward Quincy Amarikwa scored both goals and former Granite Bay High School star Tommy Thompson assisted on the first as San Jose rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit to beat Sacramento 2-1 in front of an announced record crowd of 11,499, though not a sellout.
Republic FC still had plenty of good things to take away from the match. The players went toe-to-toe with San Jose’s front-line players, who played most of the match. They broke a home scoring drought that extended to last August and created a number of dangerous opportunities despite playing without captain Ivan Mirkovic, who missed the game with an ankle injury.
“I’m very happy… it was a big step up from the Rapids game,” said Republic FC coach Paul Buckle of last week’s 1-0 loss to Colorado, another Major League Soccer side. “I thought our speed of play was better. We played on the counter attack in the first half, and I thought we caused them a lot of problems…Overall I thought we put on a great show.”
San Jose coach Dominic Kinnear stayed with his starters most of the game. Star forward Chris Wondolowski and Amarikwa both played 87 minutes. Goalkeeper David Bingham, who had his first call-up to the U.S. National Team earlier in the month, played the entire game.
“They showed us a lot of respect,” Buckle said.
Republic FC showed no signs of intimidation, scoring in the eighth minute.
Winger Max Alvarez put a move on Earthquakes defender Shaun Francis along the right sideline, then passed to forward Mackenzie Pridham in the box. The former Cal Poly star one-touched it past Bingham.
“It felt good to get my first goal at Bonney Field in front of the fans,” said Pridham, who played last season for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2. “I think our team put on a good performance and showed what we are building this season.”
Buckle was pleased with Pridham’s 45-minute effort while playing beside veteran Tommy Stewart.
“Pridham showed what he’s about,” Buckle said. “He’s a poacher in the box. He doesn’t give a defender a moment’s rest.”
The goal was the first that Republic scored at Bonney Field since Aug. 29, when San Jose loanee Mark Sherrod, assisted by Thompson, scored the last goal in a 3-1 USL win over the Tulsa Roughnecks FC.
San Jose tied the score in the 51st minute when Thompson beat a defender and fired off a cross toward the back post that Amarikwa pushed in with a sliding shot. San Jose took the lead in the 86th minute when Amarikwa headed in a cross from Kip Colvey, who had entered three minutes earlier.
San Jose had 17 shots, including seven on goal. Republic FC has 10 shots, three on frame. Sacramento goalkeeper Evan Newton, a former ‘Quakes player, had five saves.
Amarikwa said it was his first trip back to the area since leading UCD to the NCAA second round as a senior in 2008.
“I thought (the atmosphere) was great, especially for a USL program” Amarikwa said. “The turnout is above and beyond what I was thinking it would be, especially this early on in the preseason. I think they’re building something good here and they have a good culture and a lot of soccer fans. It’s nice to be a part of it.”
Thompson came off the bench in the 20th minute for the injured Cordell Cato and was a constant pest against his hometown team that he played on loan for in 2014 and 2015. His last Bonney Field appearance was for Republic FC against Tulsa, when he scored his first professional goal in addition to assisting on Sherrod’s goal.
Thompson’s older brother Tyler Thompson, the former Stanford standout hoping to land a spot with San Jose after being drafted by them in January, entered for Marvell Wynn in the 87th minute.
San Jose forward Adam Jahn, the former Jesuit High star who was a key player while on loan to Republic FC during its 2014 USL title run, entered for Wondolowski in the 87th minute.’
Buckle used 18 players and got strong performances from a number of them, including midfielder Octavio Guzman. He started and played 56 minutes. It was his first match since suffering a right knee injury against the Seattle Sounders 2 last Aug. 1.
“Tavo is like having a new player for me,” Buckle said. “I thought he was superb for his first game in seven months.”