Villarreal prepares to make a play

Jaime Villarreal prepares to make a play in the Republic FC’s game against LA.

Kai Koreniuk’s first-half goal was the deciding factor as Republic FC fell to LA Galaxy II for the first time ever at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night.

Los Dos had the bulk of the early opportunities and would have scored in the 13th minute if not for a goal-line save from Jordan McCrary to keep the match level.

The lone goal of the match came in the 21st minute when Koreniuk and Emil Cuello combined at the edge of the Republic FC box. LA’s leading goal-scorer played a give-and-go with Cuello before burying his shot on the first touch to give his side a 1-0 lead.

Republic FC pushed forward searching for the equalizer and Hayden Partain narrowly missed the mark from a long-range effort in the 32nd minute. Eight minutes later, Cameron Iwasa pushed a header just over the bar that kept the game 1-0 heading into the break.

Four minutes into the second half, Thomas Enevoldsen connected with a left-footed shot from outside the box that forced Los Dos goalkeeper Eric Lopez into a diving save. The rebound fell to Iwasa’s foot who fired his one-timer directly into the hands of Lopez for a double save that preserved LA Galaxy II’s one-goal lead.

Los Dos had multiple chances to double their lead, but Bobby Shuttleworth did everything possible to keep his side in the match. Augustine Williams sent a well-struck header towards Shuttleworth’s far corner midway through the second half, but the MLS veteran’s fingertip save denied the hosts from doubling their advantage.

Koreniuk’s goal proved to be the winner as Republic FC left LA with their first league road loss to Los Dos. Despite the outcome, Republic FC remain in the playoff race in ninth place with 34 points from 25 games. Next up for the boys in Old Glory Red is a home match against Tacoma Defiance on Saturday, Sept. 7. Kickoff at Papa Murphy’s Park is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

– Omar Gonzalez