On Saturday, the seventh-seeded boys in Old Glory Red upset second-seeded Reno 1868 FC in Nevada, 3-1, to advance to the USL Championship Western Conference Semifinals. Simon Elliott’s men fell behind in the match for the second straight postseason game, but a resilient Republic FC side showcased their grit and gave us plenty of positives to reflect on prior to Saturday’s showdown against sixth-seeded El Paso Locomotive FC.
The Indomitable Club is undefeated all-time against regional rivals Reno 1868 FC in single-elimination competition games. Prior to Saturday’s match, SRFC was a flawless three wins from three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup outings, including a 1-0 U.S. Open Cup win back in mid-May where a Sam Werner strike proved to be the difference.
Saturday night was the first-ever playoff meeting between the two clubs which saw Sacramento fight back from an early deficit to escape Reno with a 3-1 win. Werner leveled the score in the eighth minute after 1868 FC had taken a 1-0 lead through Corey Hertzog in the fifth minute. But forwards Cameron Iwasa and Thomas Enevoldsen secured the victory with a pair of second half goals, five minutes apart from one another. With the win, SRFC is now 4-0 all-time in do-or-die games against Reno, outscoring 1868 FC 7-1.
Forward Cameron Iwasa netted the eventual Quarterfinal game-winner in the 70th minute, his 17th goal of the 2019 campaign.
Since Enevoldsen joined the Indomitable Club from Indy Eleven in August, both he and the club captain Iwasa have been scorching opposing defenses. In 14 games this season, the Danish striker and the Sacramento native have combined for 17 goals and seven assists. Of those 14 games, only four times has neither Iwasa nor Enevoldsen not found the back of the net in a match.
Both forwards bagged crucial second half strikes on Saturday night that solidified Sacramento’s upset of second-seeded Reno 1868 FC in Nevada. In the play-in round against New Mexico United last Wednesday, Enevoldsen’s stunning volley guaranteed a road trip to Reno was SRFC’s Quarterfinal fate. When it’s time to lead by example, this dynamic duo doesn’t shy away from playing, and sharing, the role of hero when it matters most.
Winger Sam Werner's eighth minute equalizer was the former Stanford Cardinal's seventh goal this season.
It’s true. The boys in Old Glory Red have never lost to the same opponent during the same season three separate times.
Back in 2017, Real Monarchs swept the regular season series over Republic FC (both 2-0 results) but the Indomitable Club prevailed on penalty kicks when the clubs clashed in the postseason. Reno had the chance to make it three wins from four matchups against SRFC this year but the boys in Old Glory Red stormed across the state line and upset the bracket’s second seed.
This Saturday, Sacramento travels to a Locomotive FC side that’s already beaten them twice this season. The first encounter was a 3-1 win for El Paso in Texas back in mid-May followed by a heartbreaking 2-1 loss for the boys in Old Glory Red in a late-September clash that featured driving rain and a lengthy weather delay at Papa Murphy’s Park.
On the year, Republic FC is 5-3-0 against teams from the Lone Star State and Simon Elliott’s men have earned victories during each of their last two trips to Texas (2-1 win over Austin, 3-2 win over San Antonio). If the Indomitable Club advances beyond El Paso, SRFC will be headed to the Western Conference Final next weekend against the winner of Real Monarchs-Phoenix Rising FC.
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