Sacramento Republic FC's Zeiko Lewis battles for possession in his side's preseason clash with Real Salt Lake. | Photo courtesy FC Tucson
Douglas Martinez Jr. scored an equalizer with six minutes to go as Sacramento Republic FC earned a 1-1 draw with Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake at the Desert Showcase hosted by FC Tucson at the Kino Sports Complex on Saturday night.
The Honduran striker scored Sacramento’s first goal of preseason with a fine strike from the top of the penalty area after receiving a pass from the left by Spanish winger Keko. The goal cancelled out an early goal for RSL by Delentz Pierre.
Real Salt Lake had almost doubled its lead in the 12th minute when Rubio Rubin got in behind the Sacramento defense but was unable to find the target after rounding goalkeeper Carlos Saldana. Republic FC’s Luis Felipe Fernandes then hit the crossbar midway through the first half, while Ferrety Sousa had a chance well saved early in the second half.
Martinez’s finish delivered a positive result for Sacramento late on, however, as the side wrapped up its time in Arizona.
AUSTIN FC 3, LOUISVILLE CITY FC 1: United States U-20 international Joshua Wynder scored a long-range strike for Louisville City FC but the visitors suffered their first loss of the preseason against Austin FC at the St. David’s Performance Center in Texas.
Austin took the lead in the 17th minute when United States international Gyasi Zardes found the net before Sebastián Driussi,Major League Soccer’s second-leading scorer last season, doubled the lead seven minutes later. Diego Fagundez added a third in the 51st minute for last year’s Western Conference Finalist in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
LouCity offered a stunning response when Wynder blasted in a 64th-minute shot from distance.
“It was amazing,” said LouCity Head Coach Danny Cruz. “He stepped into the pocket, was one-v-one with Gyasi Zardes, wins the ball, the ball pops back out to him, and he strikes it from probably about 40 yards out. It was pretty far out.”
Saturday’s game marked the final leg of LouCity’s preseason trip out west.
“We planned this to be against difficult opponents and a lot of minutes for the guys to build fitness in good weather,” Cruz said. “I’m really happy with how the group handled the trip. You play three MLS opponents, two USL opponents. We put the players in tough environments with travel and minutes. These are the games and the trips that help build character and mentality and push players to their limits.
“I feel really happy about where the group’s at and some of the football we’re playing.”
PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC 3, PENN STATE 0: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC picked up a victory against Penn State University as a trio of trialists found the net for the Hounds at Highmark Stadium.
The first half started a little slowly, with both teams warming their way into the action on a brisk afternoon, but Marc Ybarra signaled the Hounds’ intent after 15 minutes with a curling shot from 18 yards that missed just high. Edward Kizza also had two good chances as the half progressed, forcing a save at the near post from close range just four minutes before halftime, but the teams went to the break tied 0-0.
Kizza thought he had won a penalty kick for the Hounds when he was taken down by the Nittany Lions’ goalkeeper in the 54th minute, but the offside flag was raised, negating the foul.
Finally, the Hounds broke through in the 59th minute when Robbie Mertz swung a corner kick into the box for a headed finish. Ten minutes later, with both teams going deeper into their bench, the Hounds nodded home a second headed goal on a trialist-to-trialist connection from the right flank.
Returning Hounds defender Luke Biasi, who entered the game at halftime, sent in the cross that led to the third goal in the 77th minute. His service and a pass laid back from the center of the box set up a low, driven shot scored from the top of the box, completing the big day for the training camp invitees.