In their second game since the USL season re-started and second home game, Republic FC (1-0-2, 5 points) have yet to be defeated through three regular season matches this year and Sunday’s 1-0 win over regional rivals. Reno 1868 FC was the first time the Indomitable Club claimed all three points in a regular season fixture in 2020.
The game was scoreless until the end, when Cameron Iwasa netted his first of the season two minutes into extra time and sent Sacramento to the top of the Division A standings.
Midfielder Rodrigo Lopez played a perfect ball to Iwasa in space and when the Sacramento native pulled his ball back into the box, the cross hit a Reno player’s hand, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Iwasa stepped up and calmly steered his shot low to the left and past the visiting 1868 FC goalkeeper.
The win was Sacramento Republic FC’s first ever victory in a USL Championship fixture at home against regional rivals Reno and will be the first of four regular season clashes against 1868 FC.
“When we spoke about what I want from tonight’s game earlier in the week, they delivered,” head coach Mark Briggs said of what he wanted to see from his team against Reno.
“I would have like them to make it a little bit easier and finish a lot of the chances that we do create and finish off the game a little bit earlier, but what better way to score in the 90th minute, to get a 1-0 lead and show the tenacity, the focus, the energy and the fight that I asked for. So, credit to the players, they turned up tonight and they did everything that I asked of them – so extremely proud of the performance,” the boss said.
A feisty first half saw both sides create plenty of chances, specifically the boys in Old Glory Red who tallied four shots on target prior to first hydration break midway through the first 45 minutes. The team finished the night with 22 total shots.
The second half saw another slew of chances created as the boys in Old Glory Red continued pressing forward, and late in the match, Head Coach Mark Briggs called into action midfielder Rafael Jauregui for the first time in his young Republic FC first team career. With his appearance in the 89th minute when he entered for Dariusz Formella, the 15-year-old Sacramento native became the youngest player in SRFC history to play in a USL Championship match. Jauregui has been a standout in the Republic FC Academy since 2017.
The game was also the first time all three Stanford University graduates – Drew Skundrich, Tomas Hilliard-Arce and Sam Werner – started a match together in an Old Glory Red kit. The trio played five full minutes together during the club’s 3-3 draw against Tacoma Defiance on July 13 after Werner entered in the 85th minute.
The clean sheet was the first of the year for SRFC, was also the first shutout of goalkeeper Adam Grinwis’ career in Sacramento. His lone save on the night preserved all three points for Sacramento and kept the club’s unbeaten streak on the season alive.
Next up for Sac Republic FC is the first and only regular season matchup against archrival LA Galaxy II. The upcoming game against Los Dos is set for 7 p.m. PT on Saturday, July 25 in Southern California.
– Sacramento Republic FC