The temperatures in Texas might be scorching hot but ice is running through the veins of the Republic FC Youth Academy U17 and U19 teams. Tuesday’s pair of wins showcased their courage under pressure during a penalty kick shootout in each of the sides’ MLS Next Playoffs Quarterfinal contests. The Indomitable Club marches on to the semi-finals this Thursday.
The U19s fell behind 8-seed CSA-Bergen when the New-Jersey based club found the back of the net in the 12th minute off of a precision header from a corner kick. Julian Lomeli brought Republic FC level when he rifled home a shot in the 42nd minute. Both sides exchanged chances in regulation before the fixture found its way to a penalty kick shootout.
19s Captain Ulises Esquivel opened the shootout and lifted his side to an early advantage. CSA-Bergen’s first penalty taker tried to match, but SRFC netminder Jesus “Chuy” Sanchez came up big with a crucial stop to gift his team the early advantage.
Cool and calm goals from the PK spot were delivered by Republic FC’s Alexander Medina and Nathan Jimenez before Armando Jimenez fired a flawless panenka by the goalkeeper to put Sacramento in the driver’s seat with a chance to win it with the next kick. The opponent netted each of its remaining attempts and after CSA-Bergen scored to survive in the fifth round, Aris Yang solidified the dramatic victory by steering his shot into the back of the net to send his side into the competition’s Semifinals.
The U17s played a morning thriller and earned an emotional Quarterfinal win over Colorado Rapids.
Sacramento opened the scoring in the 39th minute when Josemaria Barrera netted from the penalty spot. Colorado leveled the score in the 71st minute and managed to take the lead eight minutes later. But a resilient Republic FC side stormed back and in the 90th minute and equalized through Alan Gutierrez, who beat the Rapids’ shot-stopper leveling the game. After a full 90 minutes, the match headed to penalty kicks. The game was the second straight game the U17s were forced to find a win following a PK shootout.
Both teams, slotted home shots in the first round, but Republic FC goalkeeper Adan Corona comes up huge with a save in the second round. An unfortunate fourth round miss brought the teams even, but Corona held the line. His save to open the fifth round put Republic FC in the driver seat. Goalscorer Alan Gutierrez stepped up to the spot and punched Republic FC’s ticket to the semis with a right-footed finish into the back of the net.
Next up for the U19s is a Semifinal showdown against Solar SC on July 1 at 9:05 am PT, while the U17s will face Orlando City SC at 6:05 p.m. PT. The streaming schedule is available at MLSsoccer.com/mlsnext/live. Republic FC is the only club to advance two teams to the semi-finals in the 17s and 19s age groups.
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