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Republic FC Open 2020 USL Season with Draw vs FC Tulsa

Photo via the Sacramento Republic FC

A sellout crowd of 11,569 fans braved the cold weather and were on hand at Papa Murphys Park to witness their Sacramento Republic FC open the 2020 USL season. From pre-match pyro to post-match fireworks, it was one exciting and energetic environment to kick off the club’s seventh season.

Unfortunately for Sacramento, despite being in control for most of the match, the Republic only managed a draw on the night, with a late FC Tulsa goal leading to the 1-1 final score.

“I just said to the players there, we are one point better off than we were before we started, so that’s a positive right? It’s not the end of the world. We didn’t win the game like we wanted to,” said Republic head coach Mark Briggs.

“I thought we could’ve been a bit more clinical in front of goal – with our final pass, our final shot, whatever that may be. I think the game would’ve been different. They had one chance and scored one goal.”

Sacramento midfielder Drew Skundrich, who scored the Republic’s only goal of the match, added, “Obviously we wanted to win the game tonight. Coach Briggs probably said that but it’s still a point, we had zero to start the season so it’s always good to get one under our belts. I thought we played well, created a lot of chances, had that one mental lapse at the end to give up the goal which is unfortunate, but there are a lot of positives, a lot of things to take away and we are just going to try to get better and keep moving along”.

Skundrich’s goal came at the end of some solid buildup from Sacramento, leading to a clean assist for defender Juan Barahona and a patient finish.

“It was a great long-ball, Juan (Barahona) had great composure down there, picked up his head, I made the late run, had a couple touches, and then put it home. But it was a great team goal,” said Skundrich.

Sacramento took a 1-0 lead into halftime, felling positive about the lead but also disappointed at the early missed chances.

Much of the second half was like the first. The Republic controlled possession and were on the front foot. However, one mental mistake led to a quick Tulsa attack, and the equalizer from Rodrigo de Costa.

Coach Briggs called it, “a momentary lapse. We got caught ball-watching a little bit and left the space open in between (Dekel Keinan) and Matt Mahoney. They capitalized, midfielders played a great ball and they finished. When you play at this level one lapse costs you points.”

The Republic would get a couple more chances at goal before the final whistle, but were unable to find the game-winning strike, ending in a one-point draw.

Sacramento now faces back-to-back road matches against Las Vegas Lights FC and LA Galaxy 2. The Republic will return to Papa Murphys Park on Wednesday, March 25th for a match with Reno 1868 FC.