A cool and mild night in Sacramento greeted the 8,000 plus fans at Bonney Field for the 2014 USL Pro Championship game. It’s was a festive affair that created an aura of energy that emanated from the stands. Many of the League’s bigwigs, local celebrities and media were in attendance and the fans cheered wildly when the club’s supporters The Tower Bridge Battalion entered the stands. This was surely a night that soccer punters in Sacramento would never forget.
Republic F.C.’s Jake Gleeson started in at goal keeper whilst the City Islanders’ Nicholas Noble took his position on the opposite side of the pitch. Coach Preki had his boys ready for tonight’s game and ditto for Bill Becher who’ll guide Harrisburg tonight as the two clubs prepare to take the pitch. Sacramento’s starting stars midfielder Rodrigo Lopez, defender Nemanja Vukovic and forward Adam Jahn will match up against Harrisburg’s midfielder Morgan Langley, forwards Antoine Hoppenot and James McLaughlin.
Both teams started out the game playing very aggressively to open the first half. Sacramento controlled the ball for most of the first half and nearly scored on several occasions but they were unable to punch it in. Towards the middle of the first, Harrisburg take possession but missed a few scoring attempts as well. The Republic F.C. broke the 0-0 tie with a goal in the 36th minute from midfielder Octavio Guzman with an assist from Rodrigo Lopez. Sacramento missed another scoring opportunity in the 37th minute when forward Justin Braun’s shot attempt sailed over the net.
Sacramento continued to attack Harrisburg’s goal and missed a couple of shot attempts in the 43rd minute. Time runs out of the first half as The Republic F.C. leaves the pitch with a 1-0 lead over the City Islanders. The second half started out just like the first with Sacramento dominating the game on both sides of the pitch with excellent defense and an attacking relentless offense. But they were unable to capitalize on their good fortune as the score remained 1-0.
As the game entered the later half of the second, Sacramento continued to dominate the game but still were unable to get a goal due to Noble’s tough play in front of the net. Harrisburg was unable to take advantage of the few shot attempts thanks to Gleeson’s solid defensive play. The Republic F.C. continued to rain shot-on-goals against the City Islanders but were unable to convert any of them. Harrisburg made a late push in the 83rd minute but were unable to push it past mid-pitch.
Sacramento continued their relentless assault upon the Harrisburg’s defense in the last five minutes of the game. After missing a couple of shot attempts, the City Islanders made another counter attack upon the Republic’s defense but were repelled in their efforts. Sacramento’s defense continues to hold strong in the final minutes of the game as they have held strong against the quick explosive attacking offense of Harrisburg. As time ticks away, the crowd cheers on their home team to victory.
The Republic holds off another late run from the City Islanders as the game enters extra time. Gleeson makes an amazing save along with the defenders in front of the goal as Harrisburg misses the equalizer. The City Islanders make another desperate attack but the quick thinking Republic score in the extra time with a goal by Tommy Stewart taking a 2-0 lead and Sacramento runs out the clock to win the 2014 USL Pro Championship game.
Rodrigo Lopez is named the game’s MVP (Most Valuable Player) for his skillful play on the pitch and his assist in the game clinching goal by Octavio Guzman. Harrisburg’s Cinderella like run in the playoffs ends as the clock has struck midnight and their carriage has turned into a pumpkin due to being shut out and shut down by Sacramento’s defense. The victory has capped off an amazing year for the young franchise as they made a run in the last month of the season by moving up from fourth to second, hosted two playoff and the championship game at Bonney Field whilst breaking all of the USL PRo’s attendance records.
Congratulations to the Sacramento Republic F.C. for winning the 2014 USL Pro Championship trophy!