Photo courtesy of Republic FC

Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu prepares to kick the ball in the Republic FC’s game against San Diego Saturday.

Republic FC’s first-ever match against USL Championship newcomers San Diego Loyal SC ended in a 0-0 draw on Saturday night in Southern California.

The boys in Old Glory Red remain in second place in Group A following the result with six points from five fixtures.

Both goalkeepers came up big for their respective clubs, with a flurry of saves from Loyal SC ’keeper Joe Kempin that denied Republic FC all three points in its inaugural trip to San Diego. Iwasa nearly nabbed his 50th league goal early in the first half from a header and in the 20th minute, the SD GK batted away a Dariusz Formella effort from point-blank.

The Indomitable Club’s defense was an impenetrable force for the majority of the match that Loyal SC couldn’t seem to create chances against – as the defensive unit didn’t allow the hosts a shot in over 35 minutes to open the match.

Rafael Diaz made his first start in goal for Republic FC this season and notched his first clean sheet of the 2020 USL Championship campaign and third of his SRFC career during league play. Diaz finished the night with two saves but his diving stop in the 45th minute showcased Diaz’s acrobatics, athleticism, and lightning-quick reflexes.

Mark Briggs’ men opened the second half with their foot on the gas pedal almost took the lead five minutes after the break when Kharlton Belmar rifled a dangerous cross into the box that Sam Werner headed just wide. Both Werner and Iwasa finished the night with a team-high three scoring chances created each and the club collected 11 opportunities compared to SD’s four.

The shutout is the second of the season for Republic FC, after blanking its regional rivals Reno 1868 FC 1-0 on July 19.

Next up for the boys in Old Glory Red is a trip to the Pacific Northwest for a Saturday night showdown against Portland Timbers 2. Kickoff against fellow Group A opponent is set for 7 p.m. PT and is the first of four regular season matchups against T2.