2020 was an unprecedented year and a USL Championship season unlike any other.
Despite all the challenges, Mark Briggs' men banded together when times were tough and still managed to march into the playoffs for the Indomitable Club's seventh consecutive trip to the playoffs.
The season provided many memorable moments, and now it's time to relive the top three from SRFC's 2020 campaign.
Cameron Iwasa has been a prolific goal scorer in the USL Championship for a number of years now and on August 15, the Sacramento native found the back of the net for the 50th time during league play.
Following the conclusion of the 2020 season, Iwasa is now just one of ten players in league history to hit the half century mark. The Jesuit High School graduate was originally credited with his 50th career goal the week before against Portland Timbers 2 before the game’s lone goal was registered as an own goal to T2 GK Jake Leeker.
Cameron Iwasa, Republic FC's all-time leading scorer, finished the 2020 USL Championship campaign with three goals and three assists.
However, the following Saturday night against Tacoma Defiance during his 100th career start, Iwasa officially etched his name in the record books when Villyan Bijev selflessly laid off the ball to an open Iwasa in space and all the forward had to do was steer his shot on target to collect his 50th. The goal itself was the actual game-winner, lifting SRFC to a 2-1 lead en route to a 3-1 victory over Defiance.
The fitness monitors earned their money when the Indomitable Club Timbers 2 in Portland on September 2.
A nail-biter that was deadlocked nil-nil until the 87th minute when Mario Penagos – who entered the match in the second half – was spotted by Cameron Iwasa sprinting towards the T2 box. Iwasa picked Penagos out in front of net and the accomplished Republic FC Academy product slammed his shot by the T2 GK to claim the first lead of the match.
Mario Penagos put his side in front with his first career goal with the first team following a phenomenal career with the SRFC Youth Academy.
Portland responded with an equalizer two minutes into stoppage time, but the best was still yet to come. Fellow second-half sub and SRFC Academy product Julian Chavez delivered a sensational game-winning strike with the very last kick of the game. JuJu’s scintillating score was the first of his Republic FC career with the first team and made him the youngest goal scorer in club history at 18 years, three months and two days old.
The beautiful game is always best enjoyed when we’re all together.
Republic FC supporters were only allowed to gather together inside a sold-out Papa Murphy’s Park in 2020 just one time – March 7 against FC Tulsa. The match ended 1-1 with Drew Skundrich scoring his side’s opening goal of the season.
But that chilly and special night in early March was an unforgettable outing for so many of us, as it was the last time SRFC fans have heard the beat of the drums from the supporters’ section, the sounds of chants echoing around PMP and the feeling of the electric atmosphere while watching the boys in Old Glory Red giving their all in front of a packed house at Cal Expo.
Republic FC supporters only got to see their boys in Old Glory Red in-person this season once, but it sure was a special one.
That night might be a distant memory, but it certainly won’t be the last time we’re all together.
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