Sacramento Republic FC defender Emrah Klimenta made his first-ever cap with the Montenegro National Team in a narrow 1-0 loss against the Turkish National Team in an international friendly on Sunday.
Klimenta made his debut for Montenegro as a substitute, coming on to the pitch for midfielder Vladimir Jovović in the 75th minute.
Klimenta and the visiting side contained Turkey well for the majority of the match, only conceding a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Turkish captain and FC Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan played a cross into the box where Mehmet Topal headed the ball past Montenegrian keeper Vukasin Poleksic to score the match-winning goal.
The friendly, which was held Antalya, Turkey, was part of Montenegro’s warm-up for their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. Montenegro is set to play in UEFA Group E for the European qualifiers, alongside Denmark, Poland, Armenia and Kazakhstan. The group stage of UEFA qualifiers will begin in September 2016, following UEFA European Championship, and finish in November 2017.
For Turkey’s part, Sunday’s friendly was part of their final preparations for the 2016 UEFA European Championship which begins June 10 in France.
In addition to Sunday’s friendly, Klimenta also appeared in an exihibition match for Montenegro. Photo source: Football Association of Montenegro
In addition to Sunday’s friendly, Klimenta travelled to Podgorica, Montenegro on Friday, May 20 to train with the team as part of their National Team Camp. As part of the camp, Klimenta also played in an exhibition match between “A” and “B” sides of the Montenegro National Team on Wednesday, May 25.
Klimenta is the first Republic FC player to receive an international call-up and cap for his respective senior national team. Portland Timbers goalkeeper and former Republic FC loan player Jake Gleeson, a member of the New Zealand National Team, did not cap while with Republic FC, although he did appear for the All-Whites in November 2014, shortly after winning the 2014 USL Championship with Republic FC.
San Jose Earthquakes midfielder and Republic FC loan player Tommy Thompson—who has made two appearances for Republic FC in 2016—received his first international cap with the U.S. U-20s Men’s National Team on July 16, 2014, scoring a goal during the USA’s 4-0 win against Bermuda in Carson, California.
Additionally, fellow San Jose Earthquakes player Kip Colvey, who has appeared in one match this season on loan to Republic FC, earned his first international cap and start with the New Zealand All-Whites in their 3-1 win against Fiji on Saturday night.
Due to his international duty, Klimenta missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw against the Swope Park Rangers, breaking a streak of 18 straight USL starts by. He is the all-time leader in USL minutes in Republic FC history, having played 5,183 minutes in three seasons with Republic FC.
Klimenta will return to Sacramento, Calif. to rejoin his teammates in the coming days, although he is not expected to be available in time for Republic FC’s U.S. Open Cup match against Kitsap Pumas.
Republic FC are back in action on Wednesday, June 1 as they host the Kitsap Pumas (PDL) for a U.S. Open Cup Third Round match. Kickoff is 8 p.m. at Bonney Field. Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.com.