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Sacramento Republic FC remain unbeaten in nine consecutive matches after Rodrigo Lopez nets late equalizer

September 21, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Sacramento Republic FC News Release

SACRAMENTO, California - Republic FC came from behind with a three second half strikes to earn a point at home against Tacoma Defiance following Sunday night's 3-3 draw at Papa Murphy's Park on Childhood Cancer Awareness Night presented by UC Davis Health.

Rodrigo Lopez leveled the match late as the playoff-bound boys in Old Glory Red still have yet to lose at home all season. The home fixture saw gold nets decorating the field with eight targets behind the net to help raise funds for research.

The result elevated SRFC's current unbeaten tally up to nine straight fixtures as Mark Briggs' men have not been defeated since late July even though the squad was hopeful of securing all three points on Sunday night to keep pace with Reno 1868 FC for the top spot in Group A.

"It's frustrating to give up three goals as a team, that's a higher standard for us, and especially to give up an early one," defender Hayden Sargis said in a press conference following the match. "It's been three games in a row. So, I mean it can't happen again and overall it has to be better. There were good moments, but it needs to be better from the team, all of us."

Juan Barahona returned from injury and earned a spot in the starting eleven for the first time since March.

Tacoma took an early lead in the third minute by way of Jesus Perez.

Republic FC knotted the game at 1-1 when Villyan Bijev - who thought he had scored earlier in the first half before being ruled offside - netted his third goal of the campaign. Defender Hayden Sargis delivered a towering longball to Sam Werner on the wing who whipped in a low cross that found Bijev at the far post and the winger slammed his shot into net with his first touch.

The boys in Old Glory Red doubled their lead on the hour mark after a Tacoma handball in the box forced the referee to point to the penalty spot. Republic FC attacker Kharlton Belmar stepped up to the spot and calmly fired home his first goal for Sacramento to lift his side to a 2-1 advantage.

Villyan Bijev opened the scoring for SRFC with his sides' first of three second half strikes.

Six minutes later, Defiance managed to equalize when Alec Diaz scored for the visitors. The Pacific Northwest club then took its second lead of the match when Ray Serrano scored to make it 3-2 in favor of Tacoma.

But Republic FC was far from finished and in the 90th minute, Rodrigo Lopez steered a shot from outside the box by the visiting goalkeeper to level the game 3-3. A loose ball fell to RoRo who rifled his shot into the back of the net for his first goal since returning to the club.

Goalkeeper Brady Scott made his first start in net for the Indomitable Club since joining on-loan from Nashville SC in August and finished the night with one pivotal save in his Sacramento debut. Also earning a spot in the starting eleven was defender Juan Barahona who returned from injury and made his first start since the March 7 match against FC Tulsa where he earned a place on the Week 1 Team of the Week bench.

Brady Scott finished the night with one save in his SRFC debut.

Next up for the boys in Old Glory Red is a trip to Group A leaders Reno 1868 FC on Saturday, September 26. Kickoff against the club's regional rival is set for 6:30 p.m. PT.

Sacramento Republic FC 3-3 Tacoma Defiance

USL Championship Match

Papa Murphy's Park, Sacramento, California

September 20, 2020

Scoring Summary:TAC - Jesus Perez (Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez) 3', Alec Diaz 66', Ray Serrano (marlon Vargas) 86', SAC - Villyan Bijev (Sam Werner) 48', Kharlton Belmar PK 60', Rodrigo Lopez 90'.

Misconduct Summary:TAC - Sota Kitahara (caution) 15', Alec Diaz (caution) 80'; SAC - Dekel Keinan (caution) 45', Drew Skundrich (caution) 56', Hayden Sargis (caution) 90'.

Sacramento Republic FC - Brady Scott; Juan Barahona, Hayden Sargis, Dekel Keinan, Jordan McCrary (Shannon Gomez 84'), Drew Skundrich © (Frank Lopez 75'), Dariusz Formella (Rafael Jauregui 84'), Villyan Bijev (Rodrigo Lopez 69'), Jaime Villarreal, Sam Werner (Tomas Hilliard-Arce 75'), Kharlton Belmar.

Unused substitutes: Rafael Diaz, Cameron Iwasa.

Stats- Shots: 16, Shots on Goal: 5, Saves: 1, Fouls: 15, Corner Kicks: 6, Offsides: 4.

Tacoma Defiance- Eric Klenofsky; Alex Villanueava, Taylor Mueller, Antonee Burke-Gilroy, Abdoulaye Cissoko; Sota Kitahara, Reed Baker-Whiting (Chris Hegardt 85'), Ray Serrano, Jesus Perez (Azriel Gonazlez 72'), Daniel Robles (Marlon Vargas 85'), Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Alec Diaz 61').

Unused substitutes: Conrad Lee, Eric Kinizer, Josh Hardin.

Stats- Shots: 8, Shots on Goal: 4, Saves: 2, Fouls: 10, Corner Kicks: 2, Offsides: 0.

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