Oakland Roots succumbed to a 1-nil loss to Sacramento Republic at Heart Health Park, marking the first loss in seven meetings between the two sides for Roots. Both teams are now 1-5-1 in the series. On Saturday, Republic did well to limit clear looks at goal, notably in the first half. Oakland finished with 10 shots, three on target and four attempts blocked after going into the half with three shots and one on target.
“Getting down a goal early is tough, especially here and on the road. It took us a little bit to settle into the game. Once we settled into the game and started doing stuff the right way, we were able to create chances. Second half, we had a lot of the ball and created chances. Emotional week for the boys; the game in San Diego with the travel, coming back and traveling again. It was a tough load on the players,” said interim head coach Noah Delgado.
It has certainly been an emotional week and a half for Oakland. From losing its head coach to defeating San Diego 3-1, it’s been a lot to process for the entire organization. Delgado has stepped into the interim role to “create some stability” toward the playoff push.
“Just trying to create some stability with within the club, give them ideas. We still have a lot of games to go and the playoffs is something that we’re shooting for. It’s more just, let’s get on track, let’s start going. We started off with a great win, it was a difficult one tonight, but we’ll get back to work next week,” said Delgado.
The Function has taken kindly to Delgado, especially following the 3-1 win over San Diego. It’s certainly been a lot to process for the Roots support since Guerra skipped town, but Oakland’s support has been vocally receptive to the interim coach. The Roots’ coach, however, is focused on the task at hand.
“Just everything I’ve heard and seen, I haven’t really been out much. I’ve just been really focused on the job at hand. But from what I’ve received and the messages from all over, it’s been very welcoming and it motivates me to do my job well,” said Delgado.
As for Delgado’s message to the team, he’s letting the squad know that it’s a critical time to focus on the work and continue with eyes on making the playoffs.
“It’s getting to work and letting them know that ‘you guys are professionals.’ We don’t focus on other things and just coming to the group that we have and family we have within the team, going from there, and getting results… There’s obviously been changes. I’m coming in there with a new voice and a different position, but the boys have treated me well. It’s a change, but we’re moving forward,” said Delgado.
Reflecting on the 1-nil loss to Sac, Oakland went down in the 21st minute after Conor Donovan headed home a cross from a corner. It came shortly after Republic’s Jack Gurr had a shot from a set piece a few years above the penalty area deflected wide. Sac’s defense, meanwhile, stayed organized to make things difficult for Roots in transition.
“Tonight, I think giving up the set piece goal hurts–that’s something we focus on. I thought Sacramento did a good job of closing spaces and making it difficult for us. I thought we could’ve scored in space a little bit better and get in behind. But we created a lot of chances late and had a lot of the ball after 20 minutes or so. Now we get back to work,” said Delgado.
Roots had more possession in the second half, but it couldn’t lead to a goal. Darek Formella had a shot saved in the 57th and had another attempt pushed high for a corner in the 73rd. Oakland’s best look came in the 39th minute when Mikael Johnsen had a shot on target botched by Sac GK Danny Vitiello, but Formella couldn’t make contact on the rebound opportunity.
In the second half, Delgado switched the system by bringing on Johnny Rodriguez for Emrah Klimenta in the 83rd.
“We changed the system a bit towards the end of the game. We put it another forward to try and play a bit more direct. It worked out well and created more chances, but that’s still something we have to continue to improve on,”
Oakland now shifts focus to a difficult opponent, hosting San Antonio at Laney College on Saturday, September 3.
“We’re going to sit back and start breaking down film and watching games tonight. We’ll get back and do a recap of the things we did well and the things we need to work on. But we move on and start preparing for San Antonio,” explained Delgado.
The loss brought a hit to Roots on the table, pushing them to ninth. El Paso defeated Phoenix 3-1, separating itself by four points ahead of Oakland. Los Angeles also won 2-0 over Monterey Bay and are up three points on Roots in eighth place. RGV also dominated Las Vegas 5-0, putting Toros three points behind Oakland with two games in hand.
FotMob Top-10 Player Ratings
- Alejandro Fuenmayor, 7.5
In 90 minutes, Fuenmayor completed 76 of 90 passes, 1/1 cross, 3/10 long balls, 10 passes into the final third, dribbled past one defender, won 2/3 tackles, 5/7 ground duels, 4/4 aeriel duels, blocked one shot, three clearances, four interceptions, six recoveries, drew two fouls, and finished with 110 total touches.
2. Tarek Morad, 7.5
In 90 minutes, Morad completed 77 of 85 passes, 4/7 long balls, eight passes into the final third, created one chance, had 1/1 successful dribble, won 1/1 tackle, 4/5 ground duels, two interceptions, 10 recoveries, drew two fouls, and finished with 100 total touches.
3. Paul Blanchette, 7.3
In 90 minutes, Blanchette recorded four saves with two by dives and stopped three shots from inside the box, completing 28 of 36 passes, 8/15 long balls, one punch, four throws, one high claim, eight recoveries, and finished with 46 total touches.
4. Emrah Klimenta, 6.9
In 83 minutes, Klimenta completed 56 of 69 passes, 1/4 long balls, 13 passes into the final third, dribbled past one defender, won 1/1 tackle, 1/2 ground duels, 2/3 aerial duels, one clearance, eight recoveries, and finished with 83 total touches.
5. Juan Carlos Azocar, 6.7
In 90 minutes, Azocar recorded one shot and completed 21 of 24 passes, two passes into the final third, had 4/5 successful dribbles, won 5/7 ground duels, two interceptions, three recoveries, drew one foul, and finished with 39 total touches.
6. Joseph Nane, 6.7
In 27 minutes, Nane recorded one shot that was blocked and completed 23 of 27 passes, eight passes into the final third, created one chance, won 1/4 tackles, 5/6 ground duels, drew one foul, and finished with 38 total touches.
7. Matias Fissore, 6.6
In 63 minutes, Fissore completed 41 of 46 passes, 1/1 cross, 3/4 long balls, took one corner, six passes into the final third, won 2/2 ground duels, two interceptions, four recoveries, drew one foul, and finished with 57 total touches.
8. Jose Hernandez, 6.5
In 90 minutes, Hernandez completed 70 of 83 passes, 1/5 long balls, took one corner, 17 passes into the final third, dribbled past one defender, won 1/1 tackles, 5/12 ground duels, one interception, eight recoveries, drew four fouls, and finished with 100 total touches.
9A. Edgardo Rito, 6.4
In 90 minutes, Rito completed 20 of 27 passes, 2/3 crosses, 1/2 long balls, one pass into the final third, created two chances, dribbled past one defender, won 1/5 ground duels, blocked one shot, one interception, seven recoveries, and finished with 41 total touches.
9B. Mikael Johnsen, 6.4
In 78 minutes, Johnsen recorded one shot on target and completed 16 of 20 passes, created one chance, took one corner, won 2/4 ground duels, five recoveries, drew two fouls, and finished with 31 total touches.
9C. Charlie Dennis, 6.4
In 63 minutes, Dennis completed 11 of 16 passes, 1/3 crosses, 3/3 long balls, took one corner, five passes into the final third, created three chances, had 1/1 successful dribble, dribbled past one defender, won 1/1 tackle, 4/8 ground duels, 2/7 aerial duels, three recoveries, drew two fouls, and finished with 29 total touches.
9D. Memo Diaz, 6.4
In 12 minutes, Diaz completed eight of nine passes, 1/2 crosses, one pass into the final third, two recoveries, won 1/2 ground duels, drew one foul, and finished with 14 total touches.