Republic FC (2-1-3, 9 pts) collected its first road win of the 2020 USL Championship regular season with a 1-0 win over Timbers 2 in Portland on Saturday night complements of a T2 own goal in the first half.
On two separate occasions Cameron Iwasa nearly nabbed his 50th career goal during league play. The first of which was a towering cross that the Sacramento native connected with and nodded on target before his effort slammed off the crossbar and back off the Portland goalkeeper prior to ending up in the back of the net. The goal was later deemed an own goal by T2’s Jake Leeker but Iwasa would have another chance from the penalty spot in the second half. This time, Leeker kept the shot in front of him and denied the forward his half century milestone.
Defensively, the Indomitable Club was a rock and blanked its opponent for the third time in the last four regular season games. With the shutout, Republic FC now tied for the most clean sheets in the league with three alongside San Antonio and Tampa Bay.
Rafael Diaz was manning the net for SRFC and tallied one save on the net which ultimately led to him collecting his second shutout of the season and fourth during league play in an Old Glory Red kit.
The back four in front of Diaz were unbreakable for the second straight game and have now conceded the seventh-fewest goals in the conference. Leading the backline was Republic FC Academy product Hayden Sargis – making his sixth straight start for Sacramento – who finished the night with seven clearances, won seven of 10 duels and had a team-high 62 total passes.
Reno 1868 FC (4-1-0, 12 pts) remains unbeaten since falling 1-0 to the Indomitable Club on July 19 and has racked up three straight wins including a pair away from home.
Ian Russell’s side currently sit atop the Group A standings and will certainly hope to build on their lead when a stout Republic FC side visits Greater Nevada Field on Wednesday.
Since Reno and Republic FC last met, 1868 FC thumped Timbers 2 in Portland – 4-1 – before shutting out the club’s in-state rival Las Vegas Lights FC 1-0 just a few days later. More recently, Reno slipped by Defiance 2-1 in Tacoma on Saturday night, solidifying its spot as one of the league's most current in-form sides.
Leading the front lines for 1868 FC has been newcomer Christiano Francois who now has three goals to his name in five matches. Strikers Corey Hertzog and Foster Lansdorg have just one goal apiece between the two veteran strikers but both forwards have been proven point producers over the years and both players have the quality to punish defenses if they make even just a single mistake.
Wednesday’s heavyweight bout will be the second of four regular season showdowns between the regional rivals.
In the all-time series across all competitions, Republic FC has taken a narrow lead following July’s 1-0 win at Papa Murphy’s Park, but during regular season Championship play, the Indomitable Club is just 2-5-1 against 1868 FC.
Surprisingly, SRFC has historically had better success against Reno in Nevada – most recently a 3-1 upset win over the second-seeded hosts in the 2019 Western Conference Quarterfinals.
The midweek matchup marks the Indomitable Club’s first trip to Nevada since the upset postseason victory.
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