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Three Takeaways from #PORvSAC

By William Strome, 09/03/20, 10:00AM PDT


The boys in Old Glory Red bag a fifth straight win, a pair of young SRFC Academy products rise to the occasion and the defensive group continues to prove why it’s one of the best in the West

Republic FC left it until late to break both deadlocks and down Portland Timbers 2-1 in Oregon. 

Wednesday’s win lifted the Indomitable Club’s current streak to five straight after a pair of stunning late strikes from Mario Penagos and Julian Chavez saw Sacramento pull off a dramatic road victory. 

Many will remember the score line, but a powerful demonstration by the players set a solemn tone for all to witness. In the 7th minute, both T2 and SRFC stopped play and joined together at midfield to take a knee in solidarity over injustice and recognize a time for social change. The box score will reflect the final score, but the one minute and 46 seconds of two rivals taking a knee midgame reflects both sides’ push for diversity, equality and inclusivity. 

With less than five minutes left in regulation and the match still tied at zero, the offensive explosion was yet to come. A flurry of goals from both teams saw a scoreless stalemate turn into a historic finish for two local youngsters. 

Rodrigo Lopez logged a team-high three scoring chances created against T2.

Five Wins from Five Fixtures 

The Indomitable Club have now racked up five consecutive wins from the last five straight matches as the squad continues to stay in contention for the top spot in Group A. 

Republic FC are level on points with first place Reno 1868 FC with 21 but the Nevadan club’s +11 goal differential is the only bit of separation between the two sides while SRFC is currently +6. 

The last time Sacramento won five straight USL Championship regular season fixtures was the inaugural campaign in 2014 when the eventual league champions won six straight games from July 27 to August 27. 

Iwasa was credited with the assist on Penagos' goal, the first of the season for the career 50-goal scorer.

SRFC Academy Stars Shine in Second Half

With the game tied in the 87th minute, Cameron Iwasa played a perfectly weighted ball to Mario Penagos who slammed his first career Championship goal by the T2 goalkeeper to grant his side a 1-0 lead. The strike was Penagos’ first on the USL stage after a decorated career with the academy where the local standout netted 54 career goals during USSDA play. 

After Portland found a late equalizer, another SRFC Academy product stepped up to the big stage and showcased his maturity with a stunning curler that found its way into the near corner of the net. JuJu weaved through a pair of T2 defenders before powering his left-footed shot into goal to seal the win with the very last kick of the game. 

Both Penagos and Chavez are just 18 years old, both spent a number of years developing their game in the Republic FC Academy system, and both look to have an extremely promising future ahead of them. 

The last time Gomez played a full 90 minutes was a July 27, 2019 game against Orange County SC.

Defense Dons Another Powerful Performance

Over the course of the Indomitable Club’s five game winning streak, not once has the Republic FC defense allowed more than one goal in each of the five fixtures. 

Wednesday’s match was another stout showing from the SRFC backline that nearly went the distance to notch a fifth clean sheet this season. 

Centrally, Hayden Sargis finished the match with a 90.3% passing percentage while his fellow CB Matt Mahoney was heavily involved as well as he led his side in total passes (85) and helped set up the game winning goal. While in possession late in the match, Mahoney picked out Chavez on the wing who proceeded to etch his name in SRFC history with the game-winner at the death. Sargis and Mahoney also finished the afternoon tied for a team-best three interceptions. 

On the flanks, Shannon Gomez – who started his first match in over one year – notched a team-high four tackles while Jordan McCrary lead Sacramento with three clearances in Portland. 


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