Republic FC's Paul Buckle: 'Any loss is hard to take, and it's a strange one'
Ricardo Velazco scored a goal, had an assist and caused a stoppage time own goal to rally the Real Monarchs SLC to a 3-2 win over Republic FC and end Sacramento’s nine game unbeaten streak in front of an announced sellout crowd of 11,569 Wednesday night at Bonney Field.
Republic FC (8-4-4, 28 points) had taken a 2-0 lead on Danny Barrera’s assist on Mike da Fonte’s header from a free kick in the 53rd minute and Barrera’s unassisted free-kick goal five minutes later.
It marked the fourth consecutive game that Barrera had an assist, breaking his own club mark that he set on Saturday when he assisted on da Fonte’s game-winning goal in Republic FC’s 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders.
But the Real Monarchs (6-9-4, 22 pts) won on Velazco’s shot in stoppage time that deflected off the head of Republic FC defender Derek Foran into Sacramento’s goal. Velazco, the Real Monarchs team captain and scoring and assists leader, had cut Republic FC’s lead to 2-1 with a goal in the 72nd minute, then assisted on Kevaughn Frater’s game-tying goal 10 minutes later.
It was Sacramento’s first USL loss since falling 1-0 on April 30 to the Orange County Blues FC. Republic FC was looking to tie its franchise best 10-game unbeaten streak from July 14 to Sept. 6, 2014.
It was the most USL goals allowed in a game by Republic FC since a 4-0 loss last July 11 to the Los Angeles Galaxy II, Preki’s farewell game. It also was the first stoppage time goal scored against Republic FC in USL play
“Any loss is hard to take, and it’s a strange one,” said Republic FC coach Paul Buckle. “I never felt safe at 2-0. We got two goals up. We probably should have had more again. When a team like that has nothing to lose, you’ve got to be careful and we didn’t manage the game careful enough.”
Republic FC outshot Seattle 18 to 9, including 9 to 3 in the first half when the match was scoreless.
Sacramento almost went back up 3-2 in the 84th minute, but Tommy Thompson’s blast hit the crossbar and bounced off. Republic FC’s two best first-half efforts came in the 11th and 43rd minutes, both involving Adam Jahn.
On the first, the former Jesuit High star took a well-placed pass from Octavio Guzman and beat goalkeeper Eduardo Fernandez, then hurdled over sprawling defender Phanuel Kavita in the goal box just as midfielder Alec Sundly slide past Jahn. But Jahn’s back-post attempt went wide.
Barrera’s bending free kick just outside the box before the end of the first half, found Jahn’s head but also went wide. The 6-foot-1 Kavita jumped on Jahn’s back before the ball arrived, then rode him to the ground as the 6-3 Jahn made contact with the ball. But no foul was called.
The loss ruined a brilliant performance by Barrera, who has become a weapon on set plays. Three of his four assists have come on two free kicks and a corner kick. He put a well-placed ball right at da Fonte’s head for the first Sacramento goal. Then after Cameron Iwasa was fouled, Barrera lined up a a free kick on the right side from 25 yards. His bending ball sailed through a parade of players and past Fernandez into the left side of the net.
Jahn and Thompson played on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes along with defender Kip Colvey, making his second appearance with Sacramento. He replaced right back Emrah Klimenta, who suffered a left knee injury during Saturday’s match. The club expects to have more information on Klimenta’s status on Thursday.
Buckle said Colvey played well, even though he was wearing a soft cast on his right hand and arm.
“I think Kip Colvey showed his quality,” Buckle said. “I don’t think there was any blame attached to Kip…He’s a class act. He showed his composure on the ball. Very similar to Emrah.”
But Sacramento clearly missed central defender Chris Christian, who sat out his first USL match. He was suspended for the match because of yellow card accumulation.
“We have to look back at a really good run, a fantastic run by the players,” Buckle said. “We’ve been in great form and it looked like it was going to continue…We’ve been punished. It’s hard to take. But I’m still smiling, and that proves I know I still have a good bunch of players in there.”
Republic FC remained in third place in the Western Conference, four points behind Vancouver and a point behind the Galaxy II. The Real Monarchs are seventh.
The comeback helped the Real Monarchs avoid a sweep of the three game series. Republic FC had beaten the Real Salt Lake minor league club 1-0 and 2-1 in previous matches this season, one at Bonney and the other in Reno.
Republic FC will now play its next five matches through July into early August on the road starting 4 p.m. Sunday against the Orange County Blues FC at UC Irvine’s Anteater Stadium.