MONTCLAIR, N.J. – A late goal by Maalique Foster lifted Sacramento Republic FC to a 1-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls II on Sunday afternoon at MSU Soccer Park as a strong second half by the visitors paid off with only two minutes remaining.
The Red Bulls II opened positively and saw Jeremy Rafanello force a low save from Sacramento’s Carlos Saldana in the eighth minute from the left side of the penalty area. A better chance arrived for the hosts in the 22nd minute when Rafanello played in Jordan Adebayo-Smith, who created space to shoot from near the top-right edge of the six-yard area but could only find the outside of the side-netting, while four minutes later Rafanello had an ambitious looping effort also saved. Sacramento didn’t create many clear chances in a physical opening half but almost grabbed the lead two minutes before the break when Emil Cuello found space to shoot from 20 yards near the top of the penalty area toward the right corner, where Ioannis Nikopolidis met his effort with a good save to keep the game scoreless at the break.
Republic FC continued to push the pace as the second half began and Keko had a curling, long-range effort saved by Nikopolidis in the 55th minute before Cuello threatened again with a free kick from 30 yards toward the right corner of the net the Greek goalkeeper turned wide of the post. Second-half substitute Rafael Jauregui also went close as a kind deflection in the attacking third sent the Republic FC Academy product in for a shooting chance that Nikopolidis parried wide of the right post.
Jauregui then had arguably the best chance to break the deadlock for the visitors with 16 minutes to go as his marker misjudged an angled pass into the left channel and stumbled, giving the 17-year-old a one-on-one opportunity that he sent wide of the left post as Nikopolidis came out to narrow the angle. With two minutes to go, however, the visitors grabbed the lead as former Red Bulls II player Luther Archimede was played in on a counterattack and after drawing the goalkeeper found Foster to his left, who rode a challenge and finished.
Both teams ended the game down to 10 men as both New York’s John Murphy and Sacramento’s Archimede were sent off for their second yellow cards in stoppage time a minute apart, but after a late handball appeal for the hosts on a corner kick was turned down by the referee the final whistle blew and Republic FC walked away with all three points.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Emil Cuello, Sacramento Republic FC – Cuello helped drive the Republic FC attack until he was substituted late on, recording five shots overall while also winning 11 of 13 duels and 3 of 4 tackles defensively.
SAC – Maalique Foster (Luther Archimede) 88’