Sacramento Republic falls short of MLS upset, crash out of U.S. Open Cup

Jul 9, 2024, 11:11 PM

Sacramento Republic FC...

Sacramento Republic FC

On a night that was full dight excitement at Hearth Health Park, the Sacramento Republic fell just short of another miraculous “cupset” this time around.

Sacramento Republic FC were eliminated from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Tuesday night, losing, 2-1, to Seattle Sounders FC in the Quarterfinals. Sacramento rallied from a 2-0 deficit at halftime to make it a competitive contest late. But in the end, the visitors were the spoilers in front of a sold-out Heart Health Park.

Here’s how it happened.

Sacramento Republic and the Sounders started the match off going back and forth, with neither side dominating possession. The home side had the first chance in the second minute when Sounders goalkeeper Andrew Thomas mishandled the ball, allowing striker Kieran Phillips a moment of space. That ended with nothing of material through, as Thomas tracked back to secure it.

SRFC would remain on the counterattack for the next several minutes, trying to push the envelope with the visitors. In turn, that allowed Seattle to get a bit of space in the final third, putting a few balls in the 18-yard-box before one finally broke through.

Midfielder Josh Atencio fired a strike into the box, deflecting off a republic defender into the back of the net. 1-0 Seattle against the run of play in the 16th minute.

The Sacramento Republic didn’t roll over however, continuing to create chances in the final third. The problem: All of those lacked that final quality to end up in the back of the net.

Eventually, the visitors found another opportunity in the 31st minute, again against the run of play.

Sounders’ Reed Baker-Whiting played a great through ball to striker Jordan Morris, cutting the Republic defense in half. Sacramento GK Danny Vitiello read the ball wrong and came out of his own net. That allowed the veteran to race past the keeper, slotting it home to make it 2-0 in the 31st minute.

The Quails would go not o struggle to generate a chance for the final 15 minutes, as Vitiello made a greta save to keep the deficit at only two right before the half.

After a brief intermission, Sacramento came out a different team, determined to get one back right away. And that they did.

In the 50th minute, SRFC had a corner kick, with wing-back Jack Gurr floating a ball into the box. Substitute forward Sebastian Herrera found the ball at the far post and headed it home past the Thomas.

2-1, the Republic have life.

The match flipped on its’ head thereafter, with Sacramento smelling blood in the water with their opponents on the ropes.

Seattle didn’t back off however, bringing on former MLS All-Star RaĂşl RudĂ­az to kee[pe the presser eon the home side. The Peruvian international almost found paydirt in the 69th minute, but was denied by Vitello to keep it a one-goal difference.

Sacramento Republic FC had all the momentum after that, going on the attack for the remainder of the match. The Sounders held strong though, denying the Quails at every turn.

Sacramento seemingly found their equalizer in the 88th minute. A wonderful ball was put into the box from defender Jared Timmer, with fellow CB Jonathan Ricketts getting to the ball before Thomas could punch it away. The ball would fall to forward Trevor Amann, slotting ti home to send HHP into a frenzy.

But the cheers were only for a moment, as the goal was disallowed for offsides. Sacramento’s best chance at evening the score was gone in a flash, with the score ending, 2-1.

While the Republic would have loved to advance to a semifinal berth, the club is holding their heads high after that performance, with the majority of the home crowd staying past the full-time whistle.

“They performed like Sacramento Republic performs. We’d lost that over the last few weeks and tonight it was very important that we got a [quality] performance,” coach Mark Briggs said post-match. “We didn’t get the result we wanted, but that was my team. That was Sacramento Republic. They were out on the field tonight.”

Sacramento Republic FC are now 20-2 in U.S. Open Cup play at home, still living up The Indomitable name they wear on their chests.

The USL Championship side will look to rebound on Saturday, facing North Carolina FC at Heart Health Park.

Upcoming Sacramento Republic FC Schedule

  • Saturday, July 13th – vs. North Carolina FC – 8:00 PM PDT
  • Sunday, July 21st – @ Oakland Roots SC – 1:00 PM PDT
  • Saturday, July 27th – @ Detroit City FC – 4:00 PM PDT
  • Saturday, August 3rd – vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds – 7:00 PM PDT

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