Maalique Foster Brace Sinks Monterey Bay In Second Half
All good things come to an end right?
Well not tonight at least as Sacramento Republic FC came back from one-nil down to beat Monterey Bay FC, 2-1, Saturday night, thanks to a Maalique Foster brace in the second half. The victory marks their fifth straight and their seventh unbeaten across all competitions.
Taking part in their third match in seven days, the Republic showed some tired legs out on the pitch in the first half, initially holding possession before allowing Monterey to take the game to them. The breakthrough goal came in the 33rd minute after a wayward challenge by Dan Casey saw the ball passed in the direction of Union forward Walmer Martínez, resulting in an accidental own goal by Duke Lacroix.
The remainder of the first half was more of the same as the Quails tried to keep pace with the fresher side in Monterey.
Head coach Mark Briggs has gotten the most out of his squad after halftime in recent matches and tonight was no different as the Republic came out a completely different team in the second half.
The match completely flipped when the three substitutions of Rodrigo López, Damiá Viader and Maalique Foster in the 65th minute, came on and took over the match. Particularly Foster, with his first goal coming in the 74th minute off a lovely ball from Lopez, driving it past Union keeper Carlos Herrera. But the Republic weren’t done there as Sacramento quickly regained possession, racing down the right flank before Jack Gurr crossed a well-timed ball for Foster who overpowered his defender in the air, slotting it home with the header to make it 2-1 to the Republic.
“Huge win. Huge win, another win on the road,” Briggs said post-match. “I thought [in the] first half, we looked a little bit heavy legged, a little bit sluggish. And then [in the] second half we got our wind a little bit and started to play and do the things that have made us get these results in the first place.”
Super sub Maalique 🔥
Two goals within minutes from the forward have the boys up 2-1 in Monterey! pic.twitter.com/i0rN4zKvPu
— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) June 26, 2022
The goals were Foster’s second and third on the season, providing a massive spark for the visitors that ultimately won them the match.
“Tonight he came on and his energy, his movements and his quality in front of goal,” Briggs said about his player of the match. “I think he showed everyone what he’s capable of bringing into this group, and [I’m] over the moon for him tonight to come on and score two goals…special mention to Maalique, because he’s been through hell but he’s come out the other side and won us a game tonight.”
Putting Monterey on their heels in a matter of minutes, the Republic sat back and defended extremely well in the final third as Vitiello and the backline were instrumental in keeping the home side from finding an equalizer.
Coach Briggs had previously mentioned that league form tends to drop when clubs make deep cup runs like the Sacramento Republic have and it certainly seemed that way through the first 45 minutes. But thanks to belief and fight, the Quails found a way to come out of Monterey with the victory, and three points.
“We just fight for each other. That’s what’s happening. We believe in each other, and we fight for each other,” Foster said.
“I think the mentality of the group and the togetherness of the group really showed tonight. Our backs were against the wall and they dug in, they stuck together and they produced another result that gets us three points. So again, just so proud of this group, the work they continue to put in and the attitude they continue to show is second to none,” Briggs added.
— Rodrigo Lopez (@Lopez_Roro) June 26, 2022
The result also sees Republic FC jump up to third in the Western Conference standings at 28 points on the year, tied with San Diego and El Paso for sole possession.
Sacramento will look to continue their red-hot form next Friday when they hit the road again, taking on second-ranked Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in a true top-of-the-table match.