El Paso, Texas (March 11, 2023) – Republic FC secured all three points in the 2023 USL Championship season opener on Saturday night, defeating El Paso Locomotive FC 1-0 on the road.
Russell Cicerone opened his Sacramento scoring account just before the break, netting the game’s only score in the 42nd minute off an assist from Jack Gurr. Stout defending in the second half helped the club secure a season-opening clean sheet for just the third time in club history.
Both clubs came out firing in the first half, combining for 11 shots in the opening 45 minutes. The hosts found an early opportunity in transition just four minutes in when Ricardo Zacarias fielded a cross from Emmanuel Sonupe and sent a shot high.
Sacramento responded to the early pressure with two chances of their own; Russell Cicerone nearly found the net from distance after intercepting and pushing forward, but a heat-seeker headed for the top corner went just above the bar. Rodrigo Lopez got in on the action just a few minutes later but sent his attempt high as well.
Before the end of the half, Cicerone found the match’s lone score, finding net to open his Sacramento scoring account and net the club’s first goal of 2023. In transition, the Michigan native punched through an excellent cross on the floor from Jack Gurr, also securing the Englishman his first assist of the season. The score makes Cicerone the ninth player in club history to net his first score as a Quail on opening night.
Sebastian Herrera nearly joined that club as well, coming close to finding net after the break in the 52nd minute. A shot from the Columbian while pushing forward deflected off a defender and off the crossbar before going out for a Sacramento corner kick.
Strong defending kept chances from the hosts out of net throughout the second half, fending off a possession balance favoring Locomotive. Changes from Mark Briggs late – bringing in Matt LaGrassa, and Aldair Sanchez for his pro debut – helped the club secure the clean sheet as El Paso continued to threaten until the final whistle sounded
Republic FC’s 10th season continues next week with the club’s home opener on Saturday, March 18. Eastern Conference foe Charleston Battery visits Heart Health Park for the first time since the 2014 season. Tickets are available at SacRepublicFC.com/tickets. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and the match will be broadcast live on FOX40, Antenna TV 40.2, FOX40.com and the FOX40 News mobile app, and streaming on ESPN+.
Sacramento Republic FC 1 – 0 El Paso Locomotive FC
Southwest University Park, El Paso, Texas
March 11, 2023
Scoring Summary: SAC – Russell Cicerone (Jack Gurr) 42’ ELP – None
Misconduct Summary: SAC – Shane Wiedt (caution) 17’, Arnold Lopez (caution) 75’ ELP – Yuma (caution) 21’
Sacramento Republic FC: Danny Vitiello, Jack Gurr, Conor Donovan, Jared Timmer, Shane Wiedt, Damiá Viade, Luis Felipe, Arnold Lopez (Matt LaGrassa 78’), Sebastian Herrera (Luther Archimède 76’), Rodrigo Lopez (C) (Zeiko Lewis 76’), Russell Cicerone (Aldair Sanchez 86’)
Unused substitutes: Carlos Saldaña, Johnny Fenwick, Nick Ross
Stats – Shots: 10, Shots on Goal: 4, Saves: 3, Fouls: 16, Corner Kicks: 3, Offsides: 3,
El Paso Locomotive FC: Benny Diaz, Mac Navarro (Miles Lyons 66’), Nick Hinds, Yuma (C), Bence Pavkovics, Eric Calvillo, Liam Rose (Louis Herrera 66’), Dennis Kostyshyn (Ander Egiluz 85’), Aaron Gomez, Emmanuel Sonupe (Chris Garcia 45’), Ricardo Zacarias (Diego Abarca 78’)
Unused Substitutes: Javier Garcia, Eder Borelli
Stats – Shots: 12, Shots on Goal: 3, Saves: 3, Fouls: 6, Corner Kicks: 3, Offsides: 0