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Why Lindo Mfeka’s breakout display fueled an impressive Roots’ win in Sacramento

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/16/24, 1:39AM EDT


South African playmaker’s first goals against Republic FC provided impetus before Parano, Amann almost led comeback in thrilling contest

Oakland Roots SC's Lindo Mfeka's first brace since the 2022 season helped the visitors claim a first road win against Sacramento Republic FC in club history in a 3-2 thriller on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy Irina Filenko / Sacramento Republic FC

Oakland Roots SC recorded just its second win in its all-time series against Sacramento Republic FC – and its first victory at Heart Health Park in club history – with a 3-2 victory that saw Lindo Mfeka score twice before Jeciel Cedeño scored what proved the game-winner in a tremendous contest between the NorCal rivals.

Here are three storylines we took away from the contest.


It’s crazy to think that in all 15 previous occasions Lindo Mfeka had faced Sacramento Republic FC in the USL Championship in his career, he had yet to find the net. On Saturday night, the South African playmaker made up for lost time with his first two-goal performance in the league in almost two years as part of an outstanding individual display that powered Roots to victory.

Mfeka consistently put himself in the right positions to make an impact, arriving late after good work by Camden Riley in the 19th minute to receive Johnny Rodriguez’s knockdown before slotting home into the right corner. He struck again three minutes into the second half, again arriving in a pocket of space to pick up a second ball that caught Republic FC’s defense flat-footed as he surged forward before lifting a finish through, and almost completed a hat trick with an effort that rattled the crossbar six minutes later. On top of that, he was sharp on the ball all night, completing 13 of 15 passes, including an incisive pass that played in Baboucarr Njie to set up Jeciel Cedeño for Oakland’s third, which proved essential in the final balance as the visitors held on in the end.


Coming back from an injury, Cristian Parano’s minutes have been limited so far this season but the introduction of the Argentine playmaker changed the momentum of the game for Republic FC as his ability to challenge defenders on the ball showed how much he can offer the side once fully fit. His introduction brought Kieran Phillips to life – the English forward had recorded only 12 touches before Parano’s introduction – and the speed Parano brought to the game eventually set up Trevor Amann’s opening goal of the night.

Parano completed 2 of 3 dribbles as he proved a constant threat on the right side for the hosts before Amann’s second goal of the night in stoppage time gave Republic FC hopes of a late equalizer. Time ran out for Sacramento this time around, but the fluidity Parano brought to the attack showed the faster he can be ready for starting minutes, the better.


When Oakland Roots SC parted ways with former Head Coach Noah Delgado on April 28, the struggles the side had shown in producing attacking soccer were arguably at the root of the decision. At that point of the season, Roots ranked in the bottom five in the Championship with less than 1.00 Expected Goals per game, and while there had been bright outings that lack of opportunities was causing a lack of results.

Under current interim Head Coach Gavin Glinton, those fortunes have turned around in impressive fashion. Roots has not only won four of its last five games but it’s also posted its best three performances of the season in single-game xG – Saturday night’s performance against Sacramento ranks second in those with a 2.28xG mark. It’s not always been that fluid, with the hard-fought 1-0 win on the road against FC Tulsa coming more through grit that glitz, but there’s been a clear renaissance in what this side is capable of, and that’s put Roots right back into the mix for a postseason berth as it approaches the midway point of the campaign.

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