The Indomitable Club collected all three points on Saturday night following the regular season finale against Portland Timbers 2 at Papa Murphy’s Park with a 4-0 win
Mark Briggs’ men racked up 30 points over the course of the 2020 USL Championship campaign and head into the Western Conference Quarterfinals next weekend against Phoenix Rising FC feeling confident after the resounding victory at home – the club’s fourth win over Timbers 2 this season.
Before the boys in Old Glory Red look ahead to their opening round opponent, it’s time to reflect on a handful of the positive takeaways from Saturday win over Portland.
Saturday night was the Indomitable Club’s fifth clean sheet on the season and for goalkeeper Rafael Diaz, he’s manned the net remarkably in four of those shutouts.
Diaz did it again this weekend with another top-class performance in goal, collecting eight saves on the night to hold Timbers 2 off the scoreboard. Rafa made a number of diving saves on the night but none of his eight stops were more impressive than in the 17th minute when his first sturdy save was deflected back towards goal and the quick-thinking ‘keeper reached back while on his knees and managed to swat the ball away to safety.
Saturday night was Hilliard-Arce's 10th start with the Indomitable Club.
The back four in front of Diaz were equally as impossible to break on Saturday. Jordan McCrary lead the team with five tackles and two clearances in just 45 minutes on the pitch. Juan Barahona led Republic FC with 75 touches and 10 possessions gained for his side and the left back also contributed two scoring chances on the night. Center back Tomas Hilliard-Arce accounted for one clearance and one interception en route to blanking the visitors over the weekend.
It took Dariusz Formella all of four minutes against Portland Timbers 2 on Saturday night to score the fastest brace in Republic FC history.
The previous record was held by Harry Wilson who scored two goals in the opening 15 minutes of a 4-0 win over FC Anahuac during Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play in 2017. During a league match, the previous record was 21 minutes shared by Keven Aleman against LA Galaxy II in 2018 and Cameron Iwasa against OKC Energy FC in 2019.
Formella's eight goals scored this season is currently T-10th most in the entire USL Championship.
Formella’s first was set up by the tireless efforts of Villyan Bijev whose hustle and pressure on the visiting goalkeeper forced the T2 GK to lose possession which Bijev collected on the end line. The winger spotted the Polish playmaker entering the box and with Formella’s first touch he guided his effort low and by goalkeeper Jake Leeker to give SRFC an early lead.
Two minutes later, Kharlton Belmar whipped a ball from the wing into Rodrigo Lopez in the center of the pitch and RoRo was quick to keep the ball in motion and found Formella to his left. The game’s first goal scorer proceeded to curl his effort into net for his third brace this season and team-best eighth goal in 2020.
From the opening minutes of the match on Saturday night, Villyan Bijev was a nightmare for Timbers 2.
The former T2 player came back to haunt his former club with one goal and one assist – his goal has been nominated for the USL Championship Fans’ Choice Goal of the Week for Week 16.
Sacramento’s opening score was all thanks to Bijev’s brilliance regarding putting pressure on the opponent when their defense or goalkeeper is trying to clear. With the ball at T2 goalkeeper Jake Leeker’s feet, Bijev sprints towards the visiting shot stopper and causes him to lose possession in a dangerous area. The former Liverpool FC playmaker was quick to get on the ball and pick out Formella who wasted no time putting his side in front.
Bijev has four goals and two assists this season heading into the 2020 USL Championship playoffs.
Of Republic FC’s four goals during the game, none were more mesmerizing than Bijev’s curling strike in the 25thminute. After RoRo dished the ball off the Bijev, the Bulgarian-born winger weaved his way towards the center of the pitch before launching a scintillating effort that was destined for the top far corner of the goal.
His moment of magic will be remembered when looking back on the box score, but Bijev also contributed four tackles, one clearance, one interception, two blocked shots and three scoring chances created against T2.
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