SACRAMENTO, California (September 22, 2021) – After pressuring Tacoma all night long, Kharlton Belmar found Darek Formella for a 78th minute score to give Republic FC three points in a crucial divisional meeting with Tacoma Defiance.
The Indomitable Club posted double digit shots for the seventh time in their last eight matches while Nabi Kibunguchy turned in a stellar performance for the Republic FC defensive unit’s fifth clean sheet of the season.
The back lines from both sides dominated the opening half, with each defensive unit coming up with multiple key stops. A great chance for Patrick Weah in the 11th minute would be blocked, and Luis Felipe would find the same result trying to head in an Emil Cuello cross shortly afterward.
Republic FC continued to threaten despite Tacoma’s stout defensive effort. Emil Cuello nearly found the net mid-way through the first half off a great cross from Patrick Weah. Cuello’s header seemed destined to sneak inside the far post, but a diving effort from Christian Herrera allowed Tacoma to clear out the threat. Rafa Diaz responded with a great save of his own seconds later, stopping an attempt from Ray Serrano in the 26th.
Rafa Diaz kept the match even just three minutes following the break. The Dominican keeper made a great diving save on a long range strike from Samuel Adineran that could have put the hosts up 1-0. Diaz finished the night with 3 saves and his first clean sheet of the season.
Mark Briggs’ Men generated chances in rapid succession just after the 60 minute mark. Duke Lacroix’s left footed cross found the head of Jerome Kiesewetter from close range in the 61st, but the German couldn’t get his attempt on target. An Emil Cuello free kick attempt and a deadly strike from Jordan McCrary were deflected away by Christian Herrera in the 64th minute before a shot from Jaime Villarreal went just wide.
After keeping pressure on in the second half, Republic FC would finally breakthrough in the 78th minute. Shortly after entering for Jerome Kiesewetter, Darek Formella bagged his fourth score of the season off a Kharlton Belmar assist to put the Indomitable Club up 1-0.
Nabi Kibunguchy was excellent on defense for the Indomitable Club. The Academy product and UC Davis alum was excellent in one-on-one situations, blocking two shots and taking possession from the hosts six times.
“Tonight was always going to be a battle, and it was always going to be gritty,” said Head Coach Mark Briggs. “I’m proud of the players for digging, and showing that mentality and togetherness which allowed us to grind out three points.”
Republic FC has a quick turnaround before their third match in eight days. The Indomitable Club will return home to Heart Health Park for Childhood Cancer Awareness day this Sunday, September 26 against LA Galaxy II. Tickets can be purchased here, and the match will be broadcast live on KQCA My58, Estrella TV Sacramento, and ESPN+.
Scoring Summary: SAC– Darek Formella (Kharlton Belmar) 78’ TAC– None
Misconduct Summary: SAC – Patrick Weah (caution) 45’, Luis Felipe (caution) 57’, Dan Casey (caution) 69’ Nabi Kibunguchy (caution) 90’ TAC – Ray Serrano (caution) 2’, Jackson Ragen (caution) 37’, Marlon Vargas (caution) 65’ Tom Brewitt (caution) 90’
Sacramento Republic FC: Rafael Diaz, Duke Lacroix (C), Nabi Kibunguchy, Dan Casey, Jordan McCrary, Luis Felipe, Emil Cuello, Jaime Villarreal, Patrick Weah (Cameron Iwasa 75’), Mario Penagos (Kharlton Belmar 64’), Jerome Kiesewetter (Darek Formella 70’)
Unused substitutes: Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Amjot Narang, Carlos Saldaña, Shannon Gomez
Stats – Shots: 17, Shots on Goal: 6, Saves: 3, Fouls: 22, Corner Kicks: 4, Offsides: 2
Tacoma Defiance: Christian Herrera, Jackson Ragen, Taylor Mueller (C), Tom Brewitt, Obed Vargas (Alec Diaz 86’), Ray Serrano (Issa Rayyan 82’), Jose Carlos Anguiano, Alex Villanueva, Daniel Robles (Juan Alvarez 65’), Samuel Adeniran, Marlon Vargas (Cody Baker 65’)
Unused substitutes: Randy Mendoza, Wyatt Nelson, Joe Hafferty
Stats – Shots: 11, Shots on Goal: 3, Saves: 5, Fouls: 9, Corner Kicks: 6, Offsides: 3