Colorado Springs, Colo. (October 29, 2022) – Republic FC’s historic season ends with a 1-2 defeat in the semifinal round of the USL Championship Western Conference Playoffs.
Ninety minutes wouldn’t be enough to decide a winner and extra time would determine which club would advance to the Western Conference Final in San Antonio. Colorado Springs took the victory with a score early on in the first period while Republic FC wasn’t able to get a second ball over the line in the Rockies.
Sacramento made the first move of the match, when Rodrigo Lopez broke out behind the hosts’ backline in the 18th minute. Republic FC’s captain took a long ball from Dan Casey right into a one-on-one situation with Switchbacks’ goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell and chipped it in to put the Quails up 1-0.
Colorado Springs began putting pressure on Sacramento following the opener; a pair of attempts in the 20th and 26th minute minutes each went just over the bar. A great save from Danny Vitiello in goal kept out a 30th minute attempt from Michee Ngalina. Ngalina equalized for the hosts before the halftime whistle sounded, sending the two clubs into the break knotted at one.
Another huge stop from Danny Vitiello kept Switchbacks FC out of net in the 68th minute – this time from the penalty spot. Sacramento’s man between the sticks wasn’t fazed by Elvis Amoh’s trickery in the run-up, guessing right to keep the match tied 1-1. The denial was Vitiello’s first penalty save in league play this season, and the first made by a Sacramento keeper since Carlos Saldaña on opening night in March.
Early in extra time, the hosts would take the lead on Ngalina’s second score of the night.
The Quails pressured the hosts to their limits throughout extra time. Damia Viader nearly answered the go-ahead score, corralling another Dan Casey long ball from the back, but didn’t find the net. Moments later, a cross from the Spaniard deflected to Jack Gurr open near the penalty spot, however, the Englishman’s attempt went just wide of the goal. The club continued to serve dangerous balls into the penalty area for the entirety of the second additional period, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
The 2022 season now comes to a close for Republic FC after a memorable season. The club finishes its ninth all-time campaign with a 16-12-8 record in the regular season and playoffs.
Sacramento Republic FC 1 – 2 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
USL Championship – Western Conference Semifinal
Weidner Field, Colorado Springs, Colorado
October 29, 2022
Scoring Summary: SAC – Rodrigo Lopez (Dan Casey) 18’ COS – Michee Ngalina (Zachary Zandi) 37’, Michee Ngalina (Steven Echevarria) 96’
Misconduct Summary: SAC – Matt LaGrassa (caution) 39’, Jack Gurr (caution) 45+1’, Dan Casey (caution) 65’, Douglas Martinez (caution) 66’, Luther Archimede (caution) 120’ COS – Brendan Burke (caution) 19’, Aaron Wheeler (caution) 106’, Jeff Caldwell (caution) 115’, Sebastian Anderson (caution) 120’
Sacramento Republic FC: Danny Vitiello, Duke Lacroix, Conor Donovan, Dan Casey, Damia Viader (Josh Bauer 117’), Matt LaGrassa, Luis Felipe, Jack Gurr, Rodrigo Lopez (C) (Zeiko Lewis 102’), Keko Gontan (Douglas Martinez 82’), Maalique Foster (Luther Archimede 71’)
Unused substitutes: Carlos Saldaña, Ferrety Sousa, Nick Ross
Stats – Shots: 12, Shots on Goal: 3, Saves: 4, Fouls: 11, Corner Kicks: 5, Offsides: 5
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: Jeff Caldwell, Triston Hodge (James Ockford 105’), Matt Mahoney (C), Michael Edwards, Sebastian Anderson, Cameron Lindley (Beverly Makangila 88’), Steven Echevarria, Michee Ngalina (Macauley King 120’), Zachary Zandi (Isaiah Foster 64’), Jairo Henriquez (Kharlton Belmar 105’), Elvis Amoh (Aaron Wheeler 78’)
Unused substitutes: Christian Herrera
Stats – Shots: 15, Shots on Goal: 7, Saves: 2, Fouls: 13, Corner Kicks: 7, Offsides: 5