Sacramento Republic FC midfielder Villyan Bijev was named to the USL Team of the Week for Week 26 of the 2017 season. In addition, midfielder Luis Espino was named to the Team of the Week bench. The nominations are the first for both players this season as members of Republic FC, although Bijev earned Team of the Week earlier this season in Weeks 15 and 19 as a member of Portland Timbers 2.
Bijev was instrumental for Republic FC against Los Dos, starting and playing 80 minutes. He led the team in shots and shots on goal, but none was more important then his 61st minute try. After corralling the rebound off his first shot attempt, the midfielder flicked the ball toward the middle to find space, picked his head up and fired a low bouncing shot toward the outside post that beat the diving Eric Lopez and found the back of the net to put Republic FC ahead 2-1. Bijev has now scored twice in his last two appearances and has recorded two goals and an assist since joining the club on loan on Sept. 1.
Espino made his debut with Republic FC on Saturday, starting and playing a full 90 minutes. The midfielder put Republic FC on the board in the 26th minute. Forward Sammy Ochoa received a pass near the upper right corner of the box and attacked toward the touchline. Ochoa then dragged the ball back to his left foot before sending a cross toward the middle and Espino who was unmarked about 8 yards away from goal. Espino leapt and redirect the cross into the far post to equalize for Republic FC.
Republic FC return to Papa Murphy’s Park this Saturday, Sept. 23 as they host Oklahoma City Energy FC. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com and at least 100 tickets will be available at the box office on matchday. The match will be broadcast live on CW31 and streamed at sacrepublicfc.com/matchday-guide.
USL Team of the Week - Week 26: GK - Brandon Miller (Harrisburg City Islanders); D - Ben Newnam (San Antonio FC), Justin Bilyeu (Rio Grande Valley FC), Ryan Howe (Saint Louis FC); M - Villyan Bijev (Sacramento Republic FC), Kenney Walker (FC Cincinnati), Jose Barril (OKC Energy FC), Florian Valot (New York Red Bulls II); F - Irvin Parra (Orange County SC), Ropapa Mensah (Harrisburg City Islanders), Nansel Selbol (Swope Park Rangers).