Republic’s defense turned in its second consecutive shutout, earning a 1-0 win over Branson on the road Tuesday. The Tigers got their only goal about four minutes before halftime, when Santino Stiglianese took a pass from Mason Cole near the right sideline, zigzagged between three defenders, and fired the ball past the Branson keeper from about ten yards out.
Coach Jesus Zuniga said the Tigers’ shutout was a strong defensive effort, but went beyond just the back line. “That starts with even our forwards putting pressure on their defenders and their goalie. Midfield would cut out some passes, but we were able to shut out their main threat, and that ended up benefitting us,” Zuniga said.
The game grew increasingly physical as the night wore on, but Zuniga credited his team with keeping its cool in a game that saw several yellow cards issued. “We are getting smarter when we have the lead, and at the end, that’s what benefitted us,” he said.
Republic has three shutouts this season, including in its last two games. The Tigers have won three straight and four of their last five, after starting the season with two losses.
After a five-game losing streak to Branson, Zuniga said he challenged his team before the match. “These seniors found a way to work together, help the young guys, and rally around one another,” he said.