SACRAMENTO, Calif. (August 14, 2021) – Sacramento Republic FC returned to Heart Health Park on Saturday against Las Vegas Lights FC and secured a 2-1 win with three more points in the Pacific Division race. Cam Iwasa nabbed his ninth career brace in the come from behind win.
The Darek Formella to Iwasa connection turned into two early quality chances for the Indomitable Club within the first 17 minutes. Iwasa finished the night with a game-high eight shots, including a game-high four in the first half.
“We're pleased with the result,” head coach Mark Briggs said, “but for me, I'm more pleased with the collective performance. I felt tonight the collective performance from everybody, with and without the ball, was the best it's been this year. And I think you saw the amount of chances we created in the first half and then continued to create in the second half. I’m just really pleased with the collective performance of everybody."
Despite going down a goal in the 20th minute, the Indomitable Club’s offensive pursuit would not waver.
A higher midfield and aggressive wing play from the opening whistle allowed the Boys in Old Glory Red to control possession in the first 45 minutes with a 13-1 shot advantage. Duke Lacroix made his 100th USL appearance and wore the Captain’s armband on Saturday, going for goal early in the ninth minute to record Republic FC’s first of 13 first-half shots.
SRFC’s shot tally reached 10 thanks to five attempts at Las Vegas in a seven-minute span late in the half, culminating with a right footed attempt from Kharlton Belmar in the 38th minute.
The persistence of the Formella-Iwasa tandem paid off shortly after the resumption of play, as Iwasa padded his all-time goals record with an equalizer from Formella to the top corner in the 48th minute. It was Formella’s third assist of the year and Iwasa’s first goal since June 2 against Oakland Roots SC.
Refreshing faces made their ways onto the pitch in the 2-1 win, including Maalique Foster, Rafael Jauregui and Jaime Villarreal. Foster and Villarreal returned from the injury list, while Jauregui recorded his third appearance of the season.
Villarreal was part of a busy and impressive midfield unit with Luis Felipe and Mario Penagos, whose high positioning from the opening whistle allowed for Republic FC to control the pace and possession of the game from whistle to whistle.
Republic FC continued creating chances that ended with the ball in the box, replicating the first half’s late surge of shots with five shots in three minutes. Three of the five shots in the second-half push occurred within the penalty area, with Belmar accounting for two of the three.
Iwasa later cemented the Indomitable Club’s second consecutive home brace with a chip to the back of the net in the 73rd minute from Felipe. With career goal number 54 and the game winner, the Sacramento native moves into eighth on the USL Championship all-time scoring list.
With three more points in hand, the Boys in Old Glory Red face a tall task next Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Phoenix Rising FC on ESPN+.
Scoring Summary: SAC – Felipe (own goal) 20’; SAC – Iwasa (Formella) 48’; SAC – Iwasa (Felipe) 73’
Misconduct Summary: LV – Molina (caution) 25’; SAC – Villarreal (caution) 66’
Sacramento Republic FC: Tomas Gomez, Shannon Gomez, Dan Casey, Hayden Sargis, Duke Lacroix, Jaime Villarreal (Pete Pennanen 70’), Mario Penagos (Fatai Alashe 82’), Luis Felipe, Darek Formella (Rafael Jauregui 89’), Kharlton Belmar (Maalique Foster 82’), Cam Iwasa
Unused substitutes: Rafael Diaz, Julian Chavez, Nabi Kibunguchy
Stats – Shots: 24, Shots on Goal: 9, Saves: 2, Fouls: 12, Corner Kicks: 6 Offsides: 1.
Las Vegas Lights FC: Alex Rando, Tony Leon, Armando Avila, Chenenye “CC” Uche, Eric Iloski, Roberto Molina (Michael Yeboah 83’), Frank Daroma (Christopher Jaime ’75), Nathan Sepulveda, Cal Jennings (Christian Torres 60’), Bryce Duke (Bruce El-Masaari ’75), Danny Musovski (Danny Trejo 60’)
Unused substitutes: Donovan Palomares, Diego Rosales
Stats – Shots: 5, Shots on Goal: 2, Saves: 7, Fouls: 11, Corner Kicks: 6, Offsides: 3.
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