SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Tacoma Defiance rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit to earn a 3-3 draw on the road against Sacramento Republic FC as goals by Jesse Daley and Ray Serrano cancelled out a brace by Darek Formella for the hosts at Papa Murphy’s Park on Monday night.
Tacoma came flying out of the gates and took the lead inside the opening minute as Danny Reynolds created an overlap on the left side and played a low cross to the near post that Alec Diaz squeezed in at the near post past Republic FC goalkeeper Adam Grinwis.
The Defiance’s lead was short-lived, however, as Republic FC was awarded a penalty kick after Rodrigo Lopez was brought down in the penalty area as he broke forward from midfield. Formella stepped up and slotted home from the spot in the seventh minute to bring the hosts level.
Lopez had a chance of his own 10 minutes later with a fizzing shot that went just over the crossbar from long range, but the veteran midfielder played a role as Republic FC took the lead midway through the half. A corner kick from the right saw Lopez’s outswinging delivery find Tomas Hilliard-Arce, who beat Tacoma goalkeeper Christian Herrera to the ball and headed into the net.
Hayden Sargis almost made it three for Republic FC from a similar chance that saw his header force a good save from Herrera a few minutes later. Eight minutes before the halftime break, however, Sacramento found its third as a long ball over the top by Drew Skundrich was controlled perfectly on the right by Jordan McCrary, and his set-up gave Formella a chance to finish first time to the left corner for a two-goal lead.
Tacoma regained a foothold in the game with a more assertive start to the second half, and that was rewarded in the 57th minute as a low shot by Marlon Vargas was punched away by Grinwis, only for Daley to curl home a shot from 25 yards to the top-right corner on the rebound to halve the deficit. The goal appeared to spur Sacramento back into action as both Ashnakov Appolon and Cameron Iwasa went close to finding the net, and Jaime Villarreal saw a chipped finish drift just over with 16 minutes to go.
But as the second half went on, Tacoma’s energy began to make an impact, and with nine minutes to go the visitors drew level. A good challenge in midfield by Diaz turned possession over, allowing Danny Robles to break forward and find Serrano as he entered the right side of the penalty area, and Serrano shot low past Grinwis.
Both sides had late chances to grab a winner, with Appolon firing a good long-range strike for the hosts that Herrera palmed away and a deflected effort by Serrano spinning wide of the net for Tacoma. The visitors settled for their first point of the season, however, as Sacramento was held to its second consecutive draw.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Darek Formella, Sacramento Republic FC – Formella scored a pair of goals for the hosts and also had three key passes while completing 26 of 32 passes overall in a strong all-around display.