Republic FC and the Los Angeles Galaxy II each scored two second half goals as the USL rivals played to an entertaining 2-2 draw Saturday night in front of an announced sellout of 11,569 at Bonney Field.
Sacramento (4-3-3, 15 points) took a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute when Emrah Klimenta brought down LA goalkeeper Clement Diop’s clearance, took a few dribbles down the right sideline and sent a 30-yard blast into the box that Danny Barrera headed into the right corner from seven yards in front of the net.
Los Angeles (5-2-6, 21 pts.) tied it six minutes later when Jaime Villarreal scored on a near post header from an assist by brother Jose Villarreal. A little over than a minute later, Jose Villarreal stripped defender Derek Foran then beat goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek to score on the open goal.
After several unsuccessful forays at getting the equalizer, Republic FC finally broke through in the 81st minute when recent signing Daniel Trickett-Smith headed home James Kiffe’s cross. It was Trickett-Smith’s first USL goal since joining the team after playing for the Liverpool FC U-21s.
Kiffe initially was looking for Adam Jahn on his left-footed cross.
“I picked my head up and...I acutally saw Adam in the box,” Kiffe said. “I couldn’t even see who got on the end of it, but it kind of goes to them for making the run in the box.”
But Republic FC had to play a man down in the final five minutes when Trickett-Smith received his second yellow card in the 90th minute.
It was a battle of the USL’s highest scoring team and stingiest defensive team. LA came in having scored 25 goals. Republic FC had allowed four and posted five shutouts in its nine matches.
But Republic FC coach Paul Buckle was disappointed about how his team performed defensively in this match. The two goals allowed were a USL high and came on the heels of a 3-1 loss to the fourth-division Kitsap Pumas on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup.
“Individual errors are one of the toughest things to stamp out because that’s a game we should have won,” Buckle said.
While he praised Barrera for his goal, Buckle also criticized the veteran midfielder for failing to track back on the Villarreal brothers’ combo goal.
“If you are a central midfielder you track the runs, which Barrera didn’t do,” Buckle said. “Someone runs from the middle to the 18, track him. He didn’t do it, and it cost us. So were back into 1-1 and we do a carbon copy of what we did the other night in the Open Cup and gift a goal (on Foran’s miscue).
“So I’m not going to let them get away with it. No chance. I’m not going to brush it under the carpet....We’ve gone from being a very, very capable team with and without the ball to a team that’s taking risks in the back, which we don’t need to do. ”
Republic FC was bolstered by appearances of Jahn and Tommy Thompson, who played on loan from San Jose. Thompson started and played 87 minutes. Jahn entered in the 65th minute and the 6-foot-3 forward was a physical presence around the goal.
After the two teams played to a scoreless draw in the first half, the second half was faster and more physical. The two teams combined for 26 shots, 14 by Sacramento. The two teams had 30 fouls, with Republic FC called for 16. There were eight yellow cards issued.
Buckle thought Republic FC should have been awarded a penalty kick, if not a foul, when Kiffe went down at the edge of the box between two LA defenders in stoppage time.
“I was pleased with the point but I wasn’t pleased with some of the calls, especially at the end,” Buckle said. “I thought it was a penalty on Kiffe. (The referee) was on the wrong side of the play. It’s a foul minimum.”
The Galaxy II had five players on loan from its Major League Soccer team: Goalkeeper Clement Diop, defenders Oscar Sorto and Dave Romney and midfielders Raul Mendiola and Jose Villarreal.
In their first meeting this season on May 7 in Carson, Sacramento defeated Los Angeles 2-0 on goals by Klimenta and Harry Williams,, which snapped the Galaxy II’s eight-game unbeaten streak to open the season.
Republic FC leads the all-time series 7-3-2, which includes a playoff split. Republic FC beat Los Angeles 3-2 in the semifinals at Bonney Field before going on to win the 2014 USL title in its inaugural season.
The Galaxy II topped Republic FC 1-0 in the playoff opener last season at Bonney Field before going on to fall to the Rochester Rhinos in the USL title game.
Republic FC returns to action 8 p.m. on Wednesday when it hosts the Real Monarchs SLC at Bonney Field.