Sam Werner (No. 11) celebrates his go-ahead goal for the Sacramento Republic in the club’s Second Round match against Reno 1868 FC. Photo: Sacramento Republic FC
Sam Werner’s 86th minute heroics lifts Republic FC past Reno 1868 FC 1-0 and into Round 3 of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on a rainy, slippery night.
On a night dominated not by the players on the pitch, but rather the unrelenting downpour of rain falling continuously throughout the 90 minutes, Sam Werner proved the hero Sacramento Republic FC needed. In the 82nd minute a throw in led to a slight break away for the home side. Drew Skundrich redirected a pass into the box toward Werner who was perfectly placed and unmarked in the middle of the box. Werner calmly collected the ball and placed it in the back of the net, past the helpless Reno keeper JT Marcinkowski.
The first real chance of the match came early as Republic FC started with tons of pressure and a forceful high press. In the sixth minute midfielder Sam Werner sent a ball in from deep on the left side. His looping pass found a wide open, onside Tyler Blackwood in the middle of the box. The forward attempted to one-touch the cross toward the goal, but miss-hit it leaving the ball free in a dangerous area. Republic FC midfielder Drew Skundrich cleaned up the free ball, but could not get off a good shot as Reno keeper Marcinkowski was there for a sliding save keeping the match scoreless.
Reno 1868 FC’s best look came in the 33rd minute when a deflected ball found Aidan Apodaca who was sitting near the top of the box. The forward settled the ball, put it on his favored right foot before blasting a low shot toward the left corner of the goal, but the show was saved by the quick-thinking, quick-diving Republic FC keeper, Rafael Díaz as the match headed to half in a scoreless deadlock.
The second half looked much like the first, slippery and wet, making it tough for both offenses to create much of a rhythm. Despite the lack of rhythm, Reno seemed to be the aggressor, having the majority of possession and chances. In the 57th minute was again the active player, as he was played through in the middle of the park. The forward sped past the defender creating a 1v1 with Republic FC keeper Rafael Díaz. The forward beat the keeper, but in an unfortunate bit of luck, hit the right post as it deflected away harmlessly.
Republic FC broke the deadlock on Werner’s goal in the 82nd minute, reversing the trend of the second half. Werner was destined to be the hero, accounting for much of Republic FC’s offense, truly acting as a pest to the Reno defense.
Despite a valiant effort by Reno 1868 FC for the last eight minutes, they could not break through with an equalizer, allowing Republic FC to advance to the Third Round for the sixth straight year. They will face Fresno FC in the next round.