SAN DIEGO – Mitchell Taintor scored deep in second-half stoppage time to earn Sacramento Republic FC a 1-1 draw with San Diego Loyal SC on Saturday afternoon at Torero Stadium as the visitors’ late pressure cancelled out Corey Hertzog’s second-half goal for the hosts in dramatic fashion.
San Diego opened well and had a pair of chances inside the opening five minutes as first Jack Blake shot wide of the left post from the right side of the penalty area, and then Hertzog was unable to get full purchase on his effort after controlling a lifted pass by Collin Martin into the penalty area that Hertzog sent wide of the right post.
Sacramento’s first chance arrived in the 11th minute as a free kick in the left channel was sent to the right side of the penalty area where Nabi Kibunguchy sent a free header into the right side-netting, but the visitors played itself into difficulty two minutes later as Luis Felipe Fernandes had a pass in his own half intercepted by Charlie Adams. The midfielder quickly looked to shoot but missed the target to the right.
Adams fared better moments later as he provided a big chance for the hosts in the 16th minute, playing an angled cross from the left channel into the right side of the penalty area that saw Callum Montgomery hit the crossbar with a header that ended up going behind the net. The hosts went close again when Adams’ cross from the left found Blake for a shot that wasn’t handled cleanly by Sacramento goalkeeper Tomas Gomez, but Hertzog’s cross from the left side of the penalty area didn’t pick out a teammate on the chance to continue the attack.
Sacramento almost took the lead in spectacular fashion five minutes before halftime as Dan Casey spotted SD Loyal goalkeeper Trey Muse playing high off his line and fired a shot from 60 yards that was headed on goal, but Muse just recovered in time to turn the ball wide of the right post for a corner.
San Diego took the lead in the 62nd minute, however, as Jack Blake found Miguel Ibarra in space just outside the top-left edge of the penalty area, and after the former U.S. international drove into the box he delivered a clipped cross that was met by a diving header by Hertzog from close range.
Blake almost made it two for the hosts minutes later a turnover in the Sacramento half sent the ball to Alejandro Guido, who found his midfielder as he arrived in the right side of the penalty area only for Gomez to make a fine kick-save that sent the low effort wide of the left post.
Republic FC tried to find a response and went close with 19 minutes to go as Petteri Pennanen’s corner kick from the left was headed wide of the right post by Casey. Dariusz Formella then drove into the left side of the penalty area for the visitors six minutes later and fired a low shot that Muse parried before his defense cleared the rebound, and a minute later Cameron Iwasa had a shot from the top of the six-yard area blocked by Josh Yaro before the hosts were able to clear.
Julian Chavez had another chance late for the visitors as they piled on pressure to try and equalize as a free kick by Pennanen was half-cleared to the youngster for a shot from beyond the penalty area that curled through the players before him but was corralled by Muse. But then as stoppage time was almost up, Taintor rose at the right post to head home above his marker off a cross by Kharlton Belmar to give Republic FC a goal and earn a share of the spoils.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Mitchell Taintor, Sacramento Republic FC – Brought on as a last roll of the dice in the final minutes, the player conventionally a center back delivered exactly what his side had hoped for in leveling the game late.
SD – Corey Hertzog (Miguel Ibarra) 62’
SAC – Mitchell Taintor (Kharlton Belmar) 90+4’