SACRAMENTO, California (February 29, 2020)– Republic FC’s solid preseason form continued on Saturday night against the defending league champions at Papa Murphy’s Park.
Against a stacked Real Monarchs starting eleven that fielded seven players listed on Real Salt Lakes’ Major League Soccer roster, the boys in Old Glory Red stormed back from a two-goal deficit to earn a dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 win against the 2019 USL Championship Trophy Winners.
SRFC midfielder Villyan Bijev bagged a brace on Saturday including the game-winner.
Mark Briggs’ men, who racked up valuable minutes against a slew of quality oppositions this preseason including two quality MLS clubs, didn’t let a strong start from the visitors deny the Indomitable Club a captivating victory.
“I thought you saw two different teams in the first and second half, and it’s a credit to them that we got a reaction,” Republic FC Head Coach Mark Briggs said. “I think in the second half, that showed the team that we are and the team we are going to be. It was pleasing to see there was a reaction at halftime.”
In the 27th minute directly from a dead ball free kick just outside the box, Alvin Jones curled in a right footed effort to give his side an early first half advantage. In 2017 while representing Trinidad and Tobago, Jones scored a famous stunnerto beat former USMNT stalwart Tim Howard and knock the U.S. out of World Cup contention.
Kharlton Belmar scored his second goal in as many weeks for SRFC.
Three minute later, Christopher Garcia doubled the visitors’ lead when the forward tucked a close-range effort into the far corner.
The second half opened with a scorching start from Republic FC as Kharlton Belmar, who entered the match just seconds before, scored his second goal in as many weeks with the Indomitable Club in the 46th minute. Winger Villyan Bijev whipped in a dangerous cross that found Belmar directly in front of net. The 2015 USL Rookie of the Year buried his shot from point blankto cut the deficit in half, 2-1.
Republic FC equalized in the 73rd minute when midfielder Mario Penagos, who entered the game just two minutes prior, delivered a stellar ball through the heart of the visiting defense directly to Bijev. The Bulgarian-born playmaker rifled a curling effort from just outside the box into the far corner to level the match at 2-2.
The Indomitable Club battled back from two goals down to earn a dramatic 3-2 win.
With momentum on their side, the boys in Old Glory Red continued pushing forward and found their reward in the 86th minute when Man of the Match Bijev bagged his brace to seal the enthralling win. Defender Juan Barahona fired a free kick that deflected off the far post. Bijev drilled his shot by the visiting goalkeeper to gift SRFC a hard-fought victory.
The Indomitable Club closes out the preseason training camp with a closed-door exhibition friendly against Sacramento State Sunday afternoon before the regular season home opener on Saturday, March 7 against FC Tulsa. Postgame fireworks will immediately follow the match. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT at Papa Murphy’s Park and fans can purchase tickets for the opening game at SacRepublicFC.com.
Scoring Summary:SLC – Alvin Jones 27, Christopher Garcia 30; SAC – Kharlton Belmar (Villyan Bijev) 46, Villyan Bijev (Mario Penagos) 73, Villyan Bijev (Juan Barahona) 86.
Sacramento Republic FC – Adam Grinwis; Jordan McCrary, Matt Mahoney, Hayden Sargis, Juan Barahona; Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Drew Skundrich, Villyan Bijev, Sam Werner, Darek Formella (Kharlton Belmar 46), Cameron Iwasa (Mario Penagos 71).
Real Monarchs SLC– David Ochoa; Ashtone Morgan, Alvin Jones, Erik Holt, Taylor Peay; Sam Brown, Everton Luiz (Jordan Pena 83), Arturo Rodriguez (Kyle Coffee 81), Dayonn Harris (Noah Powder 69), Milan Iloski, Christopher Garcia.
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