Republic FC controlled the ball for much of the first half pressuring the Orange County defense, but were unable to break through the defense until the 38th minute.
Midfielder Max Alvarez took a corner kick that swung into the middle where it found the head of defender Nemanja Vuković whose shot was blocked by Orange County goalkeeper Aaron Perez. Forward Adam Jahn headed the rebound toward goal but it was deflected out to Emrah Klimenta whose rebound shot was blocked again by Perez, but the rebound found the left foot of Vuković who blasted a shot into the back of the net and putting Republic FC up 1-0.
Republic FC would carry that lead into halftime. Orange County came out looking to pressure and wasted no time equalizing in the 48th minute. Orange County captain Allan Russell was brought down inside the box by Republic FC defender Mickey Daly forcing a penalty kick. Russell stepped up and sent a low liner into the bottom left of the goal past a diving Dominik Jakubek who guessed right but was unable to block the shot.
The score seemed the ignite Republic FC who retook the lead in the 54th minute, this time off a free kick. Alvarez took the free kick and looped the ball into the middle of the box where a group of players were waiting. The ball bounced a few times before it found the foot of defender Daly, who sent the ball into the net for his third goal of the season.
Republic FC would increase their lead just two minutes later in the 56th minute. Kilmenta received a pass on the right side of the field with space in front of him. Klimenta then sent a lofted cross toward the far post where Alvarez headed the ball back to the middle to an onrushing Jahn who used a jumping kick to put Republic FC up 3-1. Alvarez’s two assists moves him to six in USL PRO play, second most for Republic FC.
In the 61st minute forward Thomas Stewart entered the match and wasted no time at all scoring his first goal in the 68th minute. Stewart received a pass from midfielder Rodrigo Lopez on the left side of the field. Stewart then dribbled down the left side before stopping and sending an improbable ball into the upper left corner of the goal past a stunned Perez.
Stewart would strike again four minutes later in the 72nd minute. Stewart was able to get by the defense and send a low ball past Perez and into the lower right corner of the net. The goal stretched Republic FC’s lead to 5-1.
Stewart would complete the first hat trick in Republic FC history and the fifth in USL PRO this season in the 90th minute. Stewart received a pass from fellow substitute forward Gabe Gissie before driving the ball down the left side of the pitch. Stewart then stopped, brought the ball to his right foot and sent a rolling ball into the far post.
“It a great honor. It’s my job to score and it a very nice achievement” said Stewart about being the first Republic FC player to score a hat trick. “We dominated the game. It was a disappointment to concede the penalty but we responded well to goal, now the biggest thing is concentration. We want to get as high as we can in the league to gain home field advantage.”
With the win tonight Republic FC clinched a playoff spot in their inaugural season and won their league-leading seventh road match of the season.
Republic FC will return home and work toward hosting a playoff match on Wednesday when they take on Wilmington Hammerheads FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 pm at Bonney Field. Tickets are still available for the match and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Scoring Summary: SRFC – Nemanja Vuković 38, Mickey Daly (Max Alvarez) 54, Adam Jahn (Max Alvarez) 56, Thomas Stewart 68, Thomas Stewart (Rodrigo Lopez) 72, Thomas Stewart (Gabe Gissie) 90; OCB – Allan Russell (PK) 48
Misconduct Summary: SRFC – Nemanja Vuković (caution) 38, Max Alvarez (caution) 70, Carlos Martinez (caution) 82; OCB – Alex Martinez (caution) 42
Orange County Blues FC – Aaron Perez; Marco Franco (Gabriel Gonzalez 57), Brenton Griffiths, Erlys Garcia, Jimmy Turner Joshua Suggs 45), Seth Moses; Seung Ju Kim, Cesar Rivera (Dersu Abolfathi 45), Alex Martinez; Thomas Garner (Christopher Cortez 54), Allan Russell (Mohammad Roknipour 73).
Sacramento Republic FC –Dominik Jakubek; Emrah Klimenta, Mickey Daly (Harrison Delbridge 74), Nemanja Vuković, Chad Bartlomé; Octavio Guzman (Gilberto 73), Ivan Mirković (Carlos Martinez 71), Max Alvarez (Gabe Gissie 71), Rodrigo Lopez; Adam Jahn, Justin Braun (Thomas Stewart 61).