The defender subbed into Sunday’s match at the beginning of the second half with Republic FC down a goal. In the 65th minute, forward Sammy Ochoa scored his first goal of the 2017 USL season, leveling the match at 1-1. Ochoa’s goal opened the door for Republic FC to launch attack after attack on S2’s backline. In the 83rd minute, the barrage of attacks paid off as Ochoa laid off the ball for Klimenta who sent a rocket that S2 goalkeeper Bryan Meredith had no chance of saving. Klimenta’s goal sealed the win for Republic FC, giving the defender a triumphant return to USL play.
This was Klimenta’s first USL match since July 2, 2016 when the defender tore his ACL in a USL match against S2. Klimenta underwent surgery for his injury in July 2016 and was sidelined for the rest of the 2016 season.
“It feels great to be back. It’s been a long eight months in the making,” said Klimenta. “It was already a special moment getting back on the pitch for a league match but it was even more special to get the game-winning goal against the team I got my injury against. I’d talked about a moment like this and the fact that it happened is unbelievable. I’m glad I was able to get the team the victory with my goal because at the end of the day that’s what matters. It’s been an eight-month process of hard work and dedication with the support of my coaching and training staff, family and friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better return.”
Republic FC return to Papa Murphy’s Park this Saturday, Apr. 1 when the club hosts Orange County SC. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com and at least 100 walk-up tickets will be available for purchase at the Box Office on matchday.
USL Team of the Week: Travis Worra; Emrah Klimenta, Conor Shanosky, Sebastian Ibeagha; Justin Portillo, Carlos Alvarez, Juan Caffa, Vincent Bezecourt; Corey Hertzog, Duke Lacroix.