SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Highway 99 Derby came to a close Saturday night, with Sacramento Republic taking a 1-0 win to grab the series 2 games to 1 in the USL regular season.
Villyan Bijev found space at the 76th minute, cutting inside from the left and striking a right-footed blast 25 yards out to put one away against his hometown club.
For the remainder of regulation, including five minutes of added stoppage time, the Foxes were unable to find the equalizer. Alex Cooper won a free kick on the left wing, but it ended without a threat and a few moments later, Pedro Ribeiro found a late chance but his off-balance shot from 10 yards missed over the bar.
After a slow start in the first half that saw Republic FC outshoot Fresno 10-6, the Foxes found their rhythm after the break, firing seven more shots, including three on goal.
Juan Pablo Caffa nearly gave the Foxes the lead at the 54th minute, only to see his shot denied by the crossbar. Christian Chaney saw his opportunity at the 64th missed just wide right of the post and Mickey Daly's header at the 71st landed right into the hands of goalkeeper Josh Cohen.
Fresno netminder Kyle Reynish had an impressive first half in which he made three diving saves to keep it level through the first 45. The Foxes were also spared by the woodwork as Sacramento saw two early shots deflect off the crossbar.
The Foxes (7W-8L-9D) slide to 10th in the USL Western Conference behind Colorado Springs Switchbacks (9th, 9-12-4), which won 2-0 over OKC Energy FC.
Fresno returns to the pitch Thursday night against LA Galaxy II at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT. The match will be televised on ThisTV 26.2 over-the-air or Comcast channel 390, as well as via livestream on ESPN Plus.
The Foxes make their way back to Chukchansi Park the following weekend, Saturday Aug. 18, against Saint Louis FC. Tickets are available at the Chukchansi Park box office and online at tickets.fresnofc.com.
Del Campo finished the evening with five clearances, two blocks, two shots and one key pass for Los Zorros.