TACOMA, Wash. – A second-half goal by Dariusz Formella proved the difference as Sacramento Republic FC took a 1-0 victory against Tacoma Defiance on Wednesday night at Cheney Stadium to move within a point of the Defiance in the race for the playoff places in the USL Championship’s Pacific Division.
Looking to close the gap to the playoff places, Sacramento carved out the first good look on goal just a minute in as Emil Cuello picked up possession moving centrally from the right and delivered a shot that was saved by Tacoma’s Christian Herrera from 25 yards out. The hosts saw Academy product Mario Penagos threaten with a shot just wide of the left post after an initial shot by Patrick Weah was blocked, while Tacoma’s Tom Brewitt also sent a header over the crossbar in the 20th minute off a corner kick from the left by Carlos Anguiano in the first good chance for the hosts.
Republic FC continued to push for the opener, though, and five minutes later a cross from the left by Weah to the back post found Cuello rising above his defender to head back across goal to force another good save by Herrera. The Defiance then produced a clear look at the other end in the 27th minute as Danny Robles set up Ray Serrano for a shot from the right side of the penalty area that was parried away by Republic FC goalkeeper Rafael Diaz, while just past the half-hour mark veteran defender Taylor Mueller sent a header off a free kick by Anguiano from the left wide of the right post.
Tacoma went close again to a breakthrough in first-half stoppage time as Samuel Adeniran found the right side-netting after Diaz had blocked away a near-post cross from the right, and that momentum continued into the second half as Adeniran fired a powerful shot from the left edge of the penalty area toward the far post that Diaz punched clear.
After a quiet start to the second half, Sacramento began to reassert itself and in the 64th minute a free kick by Cuello from 25 yards to the left of center was turned wide of the left post by Herrera. Off the ensuing corner the ball came to Jordan McCrary at the top of the penalty area for an effort the Tacoma goalkeeper also tipped off target.
With 12 minutes to go, however, Sacramento took the lead as Kharlton Belmar drove down the right side and picked out a low cross that found Formella at the top of the six-yard area for his fifth goal in as many games against the Defiance in his career. Republic FC tried to add a second goal four minutes later as Duke Lacroix’s cross from the left found Cuello in space, but his shot went over the crossbar.
Tacoma tried to find a late equalizer as Adeniran saw a near-post shot from the left saved by Diaz, but Republic FC saw out the remaining minutes to continue the Defiance’s recent downturn in form and earn a big three points toward its own playoff aspirations as the final whistle blew.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Jordan McCrary, Sacramento Republic FC – McCrary put in a solid display for the visitors at the back, winning 7 of 9 duels and making three interceptions and eight recoveries to help his side earn victory.
SAC – Dariusz Formella (Kharlton Belmar) 78’