Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Rodrigo Lopez notched a goal and assist while Emil Cuello and Douglas Martinez Jr. both found the net as Sacramento Republic FC defeated USL Championship newcomer Monterey Bay F.C. 3-2 in a preseason friendly at Heart Health Park on Saturday afternoon.
Republic FC took early control the game and went close to breaking the deadlock in just the second minute. A cross from Martinez found Cuello, only for his shot to be deflected away by Monterey Bay’s backline. The hosts took the lead in the 11th minute, however, when Matt LaGrassa passed up a chance at goal and passed to Lopez in the left side of the penalty area, who curled in a shot to the far post for his team-leading fourth goal preseason play.
Sacramento manufactured another good chance four minutes later when defender Jack Gurr carried down the right flank and put in a well-placed cross to Douglas Martinez in the middle, but the Honduran international was unable to capitalize.
Monterey Bay’s first real chance didn’t arrive until the half-hour mark when a foul from Jack Gurr gave the visitors a set-piece opportunity, but instead it was Republic FC that would find the net. On the counterattack, Martinez had an initial effort blocked, but he retained possession and found Rodrigo Lopez, who delivered a close-range chance that Cuello put away. Lopez nearly bagged another goal just moments later, but his shot would go just wide of the target.
The visitors hit back two minutes before halftime to halve the deficit as Chase Boone put home a finish after MBFC held possession in the attacking third after a set piece. However, Republic FC restored its two-goal advantage just after the break when the hosts were awarded a penalty kick that Martinez put away.
Monterey Bay reduced the deficit to one goal again just past the hour mark after a creative move set up Sam Gleadle for a finish past Sacramento goalkeeper Carlos Saldana. The score gave the club some momentum, who put some pressure on Sacramento’s backline as time ticked down, but Sacramento was able to hold firm and see out the victory as both teams concluded their preseason slates.