It may not seem like it at the moment, but there are always positives to every negative situation.
That, at least, should be Republic FC’s mentality coming out of a tough loss from their visit to Tacoma Defiance on Monday night. Despite falling 2-1 to the Seattle Sounders FC affiliate, there are various positives to reflect on as the club returns home this week ahead of their Saturday matchup against Austin Bold FC. Here are a few that come to mind:
The Sacramento native recorded his fifth goal the season when he converted a penalty kick in the 88th minute against Defiance on Monday night. Iwasa has now scored in each of Republic FC’s past three games and his five goals on the year tie him with Tulsa Roughneck FC’s Luca Lobo for first place in the race for the Golden Boot.
Republic FC fans will also welcome the team’s newfound consistency from the 12-yard spot, a marked improvement over a 2018 season where many points were left on the table due to missed penalty kicks. With his goal against Tacoma, Iwasa has now converted three penalty kicks from three attempts.
Just hours before Monday’s match, Tacoma Defiance announced the signing of several Seattle Sounders FC players on loan who would be available for the clash against Republic FC. Among the players listed were defender Román Torres, an MLS Cup winner with Sounders FC who captained the Panamanian Men’s National Team in the 2018 World Cup, as well as veteran MLS forward Will Bruin. In total, ten Sounders FC first team players started against Republic FC on Monday night.
Despite facing what was essentially an MLS-team roster—Daniel Leyva was the only non-Sounders FC player who started for Tacoma—Republic FC held their own and generated enough chances to have taken points away from their visit to the Pacific Northwest. By the end of the 90 minutes, Republic FC had held possession 49.8% of the time, recorded 15 shots to Tacoma’s 18, created 12 chances to Tacoma’s 15 and forced the home side to make 22 clearances to Sacramento’s 7. In the expected goals category, Republic FC beat out Tacoma with 2.42 to their 1.3.
Obviously, the final result is ultimately what matters, but the boys in Old Glory Red can take positives away from what was an otherwise strong showing on Monday night.
Republic FC saw the return of two key players previously absent from the starting XI on Monday night. Midfielders Keven Alemán and Jaime Villarreal both got their first starts of the season after recovering from long-term injuries sustained late last year. Alemán returns after undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason, while Villarreal is fully fit from a foot fracture sustained last fall. The former LA Galaxy player led the team in chances created on Monday night (3) and was among the club’s best passers during the 90 minutes.
Republic FC won’t have too much time to dwell on Monday’s loss. The club is back at home this Saturday, April 6, against league newcomers Austin Bold FC. Kickoff at Papa Murphy’s Park in Cal Expo is set for 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available via Ticketmaster.com and on the official Republic FC app.
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