ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Saint Louis FC won 2-1 against Sacramento Republic FC in front of 3,127 fans at Toyota Stadium in Match 24 of the USL Regular Season.
Saint Louis FC opened the scoring early for the third game in a row when Corey Hertzog intercepted a back pass and found the top corner with his shot in the 5th minute. The home side would double their lead immediately when Lewis Hilton found the head of Kyle Greig off a corner for his team-leading tenth goal of the season in the 7th minute. Sacramento Republic would get one back through Jaime Villarreal in the 67th minute but Saint Louis FC would hold on for a franchise-record fourth win in a row to improve to 9-6-8 with 35 points while Sacramento Republic FC falls to 12-6-7 with 43 points in the USL Western Conference.
The first half started with STLFC controlling the possession and pressing with intensity which would pay off in the 5th minute as Hertzog got on the end of a poor back pass from the Sacramento defense and cut inside to finish with his left foot for his third goal of the season. The home side would double their advantage soon afterwards as Hilton started a short corner kick routine and found the head of Greig who put it past Sacramento goalkeeper Josh Cohen in the 7th minute. Greig had another great opportunity that he created himself after beating a couple of defenders down the touchline but his shot was well-saved by Cohen in the 22nd minute. Hertzog then had a great chance to double his tally in the 30th minute but Cohen got down to make the save after punching his initial clearance to the striker and STLFC would maintain their 2-0 advantage going into the halftime interval.
The second half saw Sacramento come out looking for a response and they nearly scored in the 48th minute as Kevin Alemán took a shot that was well-saved by STLFC goalkeeper Jake Fenlason. They eventually would get a goal in the 67th minute when Jure Matjasic headed a cross down for Villarreal to tap-in from inside the six-yard box to set up a nervy finish. The away side could not find another goal, however, as Saint Louis FC held on for their third home win in a row and fifth game unbeaten to earn all three points and firmly enter the playoff picture going into the final 10 games of the USL season.
“We put a large emphasis on being focused to start fast but I’ve never seen anything like this where a team scores so many early goals but I’m not complaining by any stretch of the imagination,” said STLFC Head Coach Anthony Pulis. “The focus now shifts to recovery going into Fresno on Saturday after putting so much effort into tonight so we’ll have to make the right decisions where certain players have to play again and then we have to make sure everyone is ready to go.”