With their victory over Fresno Fuego in the US Open Cup, Sacramento completed their swing of three games in six days with three wins. On Friday they played the Rochester Rhinos in Rochester, on Sunday they faced the Dayton Dutch Lions in Dayton, and on Wednesday they played Fresno at home, despite having only returned home the previous night. The three victories extended the Republic's winning streak to six across all competitions. George Fochive and Steven Evans were the only eligible Timbers loanees, with Jake Gleeson still out with a right groin injury
Fochive started on Friday against Rochester and played 74 minutes before being subbed off for Octavio Guzman. During his shift, Fochive neither impressed nor disappointed. He mostly stayed deep to help shield the back four and act as a release valve for pressure on the more advanced players. His partner in central midfield, Ivan Mirkovic, was given a similar role, although he was much more active and had a bigger impact on the game. For the second game in a row, Fochive saw the game being played around him rather than through him.
Part of his lack of involvement could be put down to the more direct style Sacramento employed on their road trip, trying long balls from the back more often than they might at home. These increased long balls resulted in Fochive possibly getting less touches than normal and not really being able to find his footing well enough to make any sort of real impact on the match.
After being subbed off against Rochester, Fochive started the next game in Dayton on the bench. Against Dayton, Fochive was subbed in for forward Chad Bartalome in the 59th minute in an effort to help the away side see out the game, going from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1. Fochive's added presence in midfield helped Sacramento to hold on to their 2-1 lead until the end of the match.
The other eligible Timber's player, Steven Evans, logged his first minutes for Sacramento on the trip to Dayton as well. He came in for Octavio Guzman (the scorer of the game winning goal) in the 75th minute for a small cameo appearance. While he played okay during the Dayton game, his real introduction would come in the US Open Cup match against Fresno Fuego on Wednesday.
Evans appeared destined for another fairly short and uneventful stint when he was subbed on in the 77th minute when the home side was up by 4 goals. Fate (and Carlos Martinez) had other ideas. In the 89th minute Evans introduced himself to the Sacramento Republic fans by scoring the final goal in the team's 6-0 romp over Fresno.
He scored off a give-and-go play between himself and Martinez. After his initial pass to Martinez he ran into open space for the return pass and was not followed by any Fuego players. After receiving the return pass he calmly sent the ball past a sprawling keeper and into the net for his first goal in US Open Cup play.
Sacramento's next match is against Arizona United SC on June 7th at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento. Bryan Gallego, another Timbers player on loan, has been a near constant presence for Arizona since leaving Sacramento early in the season and (barring injury) will likely suit up for the visitors.
As always, please check out Reckless Challenge for more comprehensive coverage of both the Sacramento Republic and USL PRO.