Misc Soccer News

Rhode Island FC and Sacramento Republic FC Fight to Dramatic 2-2 Draw

Rhode Island FC Signee Drafted in First Round of MLS SuperDraft

May 11, 2024 – United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Rhode Island FC News Release

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – A back-and-forth first half and a dramatic stoppage-time set piece saw Rhode Island FC fight to a 2-2 draw against Western Conference leaders Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday at Beirne Stadium. A pair of goals from Stephen Turnbull and Karifa Yao saw the homeside hold the lead deep into second half stoppage time, but it wasn’t enough to earn all three points as the game ended level.

After an energetic start, Clay Holstad forced the first save out of Sacramento goalkeeper Jared Mazzola in the 11th minute with a left-footed effort from just outside the 18-yard box. Eight minutes later, Noah Fuson nailed the crossbar with a powerful strike from a similar position.

The Ocean State club eventually took advantage of its early momentum in the 31st minute, when Stephen Turnbull collected Holstad’s long ball over the top of the Sacramento defense on the right wing. Moving around his marker and taking the ball off his chest just inside the penalty area, the defender unleashed a powerful shot with his right foot that beat a diving Mazzola at the near post to give RIFC (1-2-6) its first-ever lead at Beirne Stadium. The goal marked the first time Sacramento (5-0-5) had conceded first in a match all season.

The lead was short-lived, however, as the Western Conference leaders responded just seven minutes later. Jumping above everyone at the back post, Trevor Amann got on the end of Jack Gurr’s cross into the six-yard box, depositing a flicked header past the outstretched arm of Koke Vegas and into the side netting to knot the match at 1-1.

A back-and-forth first half did not end there, as RIFC once again re-took the lead in the 42nd minute. Newly-acquired midfielder Jack Panayotou, who joined RIFC on loan from Major League Soccer club New England Revolution on Friday, sent in a dangerous corner from the right side, and Karifa Yao knocked in the header from point-blank range for his first career USL Championship goal. Yao’s go-ahead goal was enough to take the homeside into halftime with a 2-1 lead.

Coming out of the break, RIFC once again created better attacking opportunities. In the 71st minute, Fuson split the defense with a pass down the right wing that sent Albert Dikwa “Chico” into a one-on-one position with Mazzola, but the Sacramento goalkeeper stayed strong and denied the reigning Golden Boot winner what would have been his fourth goal of the…

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