All posts by Shawn Jonas

Sacramento River Cats Fold as the Reno Aces Rally Late

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A four-run first inning wasn’t enough for the Sacramento River Cats as the Reno Aces rallied to a 6-4 win in front of 9,210 Thursday night at Raley Field. Despite an impressive start from Nik Turley – who struck out a season-high six – Sacramento watched their lead disappear late as they dropped the series opener 6-4 to the Aces.

Turley looked dominant on the mound for Sacramento, shutting out the Aces through six innings while allowing just two hits and a walk. Pitching in the seventh inning for the first time this season, Turley gave up a two-run home run to Aces’ third baseman Jamie Romak before being replaced by Cody Hall. For the most part, Turley kept the Aces off the bases and off the board, allowing just the 2 runs on 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6 through 6.1 innings.

Turley’s 6 strikeouts were his most in a start this season, passing his previous high of 4 (6/2 at Oklahoma City). He lowered his ERA from 10.47 to 8.34 with the outing.

The River Cats jumped out early, scoring four times in the bottom of the first inning against Reno’s starter Caleb Clay. The big hit of the inning came from Hector Sanchez, who lined a two-out double to left field scoring Ehire Adrianza and Adam Duvall. Ryan Lollis followed with an RBI-double and Carlos Triunfel added an RBI-single before the inning was over.

Overall, Sanchez was 1-for-4 and tallied his second multi-RBI game of the year. Triunfel was 3-for-4 on the night, raising his season average to .260.

Reno rallied past the River Cats in the eighth inning, scoring four times on three this, two walks, and an error to take a 6-4 lead. The Aces sent nine men to the plate in the inning against Sacramento’s relievers Braulio Lara and Cody Hall. Both Cody Ransom (1-for-3) and Romak (2-for-4) drove in two for the Aces on the night.

Lara took the loss for Sacramento, falling to 0-5 on the season. Matt Reynolds (2-4) picked up the save for Reno and Kaleb Fleck recorded his second save.

Sacramento will look to even this four-game set tomorrow night behind lefty Ty Blach (5-6, 3.63). Blach has been very good at home, posting a 3-3 record and a 2.89 ERA. Opposing him will be another lefty, Reno’s Justin Marks (3-6, 6.08). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Sign Forward Kaleemullah Khan

SACRAMENTO, Calif.Sacramento Republic FC have agreed to a contract with forward Kaleemullah Khan. The Pakistani National Team captain is believed to be the first Pakistani-born player to sign a contract with a professional U.S.-based soccer club, based on current record keeping.

“The signing of Kaleemullah demonstrates the continued mission of Republic FC to bring the best players from around the world to our Capital City,” said Republic FC Technical Director Graham Smith. “His scoring prowess is well documented, but it may also still take a little time for him to both learn the style of play in the U.S. in addition to Preki’s coaching style.”

Kaleemullah joins Republic FC after spending last season with Dordoi Bishkek of the Shoro Top League, the Kyrgyz First Division. He appeared in 17 matches for Dordoi Bishkek, who went on to win the Shoro Top League title. Kaleemullah was the MVP and Golden Boot winner after leading the league in scoring with 18 goals in 2014. Prior to his one-year stint in Kyrgyzstan, Kaleemullah appeared in 94 matches in five Pakistan Premier League seasons, scoring 72 goals. He won the Pakistan Premier League Golden Boot after setting the record for goals (31) and hat tricks (7) in a single season in 2013.

In 2014, Kaleemullah was named captain of the Pakistani Men’s National Team. He has appeared in 25 matches for Pakistan since 2011, scoring four goals.

With the signing of Kaleemullah, Republic FC players now represent 12 different countries, from five different continents.

For full player bios and stats, visit SacRepublicFC.com.

Press Release Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Game Preview: San Jose SaberCats vs Las Vegas Outlaws

Photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE, CALIF. – The San Jose SaberCats (11-1) head to Sin City, to take on the Las Vegas Outlaws (4-7) for a National Conference game on Father’s Day Sunday, June 21 at 2PM PDT.

Already clinching the Pacific Division championship, San Jose will be battling down the stretch for the best record in the AFL for the potential opportunity to host the ArenaBowl. Currently, the SaberCats have a full game lead over the Philadelphia Soul (10-2) for the top mark.

“There are a lot of things to correct from last week,” said Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet. “We’ll go back, look at the film and find ways to improve.”

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Leading the SaberCats offense, receiver Reggie Gray reached triple-digit receptions with 102 for the fourth time in his career, going for 1,128 yards and “Big Play’s” 29 touchdown receptions leads all in the AFL. Gray will likely draw the attention of Las Vegas’ defensive backs, Tanner Varner or Eddie Moten. Varner is a versatile athlete and a veteran leader on the defense, ranking at the top in total tackles with 69 on the season.

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Quarterback Erik Meyer ranks among the AFL best, completing 63.7-percent of his passes and is averaging 240.5 yards per game. Meyer has been able to spread the ball around to his teammates, already throwing for 59 touchdowns to 10 different receivers this season. After putting up a season-high 49 rushing yards last week, Meyer also became the team’s leading rusher with 106, eclipsing the 100-yard mark along with fullback Odie Armstrong (101).

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Paired with Varner, Moten, is coming off his best performance of the season last week against the Spokane Shock. Moten, a nine year veteran and former SaberCat, had two interceptions, returning one for a 12-yard touchdown in the 62-56 victory over the Shock. A starting defensive lineman for San Jose last year, Terrance Carter has relished in the same role in Las Vegas. Carter is tied with Mike Lewis for a team high five sacks this season, with both registering one last week.

The leading man offensively for Las Vegas has been receiver Jomo Wilson. This season, Wilson has 795 receiving yards and 19 of his 63 receptions have gone for touchdowns. In last week’s win, Wilson grabbed five receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns, pacing the offense. Wilson and teammate Tysson Poots have both had recent success making plays for the Las Vegas offense, but they will be running into a SaberCats’ defense led by the AFL leader in tackles and interceptions, Ken Fontenette.

The SaberCats’ defense has allowed just 37.8 points per game this season, ranking them first in the AFL. San Jose also leads the league in interceptions (21) and sacks (30) but most notably, the SaberCats’ defense is holding teams to a 24-percent fourth down conversion rate. While the offense is converting on 48-percent of its fourth downs, the ability for San Jose to force turnover on downs by its defense, specifically in the red zone, has assisted in the team’s success thus far.

The previous matchup between these two teams was a 61-28 victory by the SaberCats at home in May, while the last meeting in Sin City was the season opener back in March. In that game, from the Thomas and Mack Center, San Jose jumped out to an early 28-0 lead and eventually went on to win 59-41, in the Outlaw’s AFL debut. This will be the third and final installment for the regular season between the SaberCats and Outlaws.

Game Preview Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Trap Fresno Grizzlies Win Finale Series 4-1

Photo By Shawn Jonas

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento River Cats sent the right-hander Chris Stratton (0-0, 2.08) to the mound Friday night for their series finale with the rival Fresno Grizzlies. The start was just Stratton’s third since being called up to Triple-A and his first at Raley Field. He held the hot-hitting Grizzlies to one run on two hits in six innings as the River Cats took the finale from Fresno 4-1.

Since being called up from the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels, Stratton has looked excellent for the River Cats. In three starts, he has thrown 17.1 innings and allowed just 5 runs (4 earned). His Friday night start against the Grizzlies may have been his best yet, as he tossed 6 outstanding innings, allowing just 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. Stratton kept the ball down all night, recording 10 ground ball outs on the night.

Stratton’s lone blemish came in the second inning, when he opened the frame with back-to-back walks. Fresno scratched across their only run of the night with a groundball out to advance the runners and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Robbie Grossman.

The River Cats scored four times on the night while knocking out 10 hits and drawing six walks. Sacramento tied the game in the third on Darren Ford’s fifth home run of the season, a solo shot to right field. They took the lead when Travis Ishikawa lined a single to right, scoring Brett Jackson from second. With the hit, Ishikawa extended his hit streak to nine games, his longest of the season. He has also recorded an RBI in four of his last five games and now has 18 on the season.

Sacramento took control of the game in the bottom of the eighth, adding on two more runs to extend their lead to three thanks to an RBI-single from Ehire Adrianzab.

Stratton was followed by Jean Machi and Erik Cordier out of the River Cats bullpen. Machi, making his second rehab appearance, picked up his first win with two scoreless innings. Cordier brought the heat in the ninth, hitting 96-97 mph consistently and going as high as 98 mph. The save was his fourth.

The River Cats welcome the Reno Aces to Raley Field tomorrow night for a four game series. LHP Nik Turley (2-3, 10.47) will get the nod for Sacramento while the right-hander Caleb Clay (4-5, 4.17) gets the start for Reno. The teams split four games in Reno earlier this season. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

San Francisco Giants’ Righty Throws 95 Pitches in Sacramento Rivers 3-1 Loss; Peavy Goes Seven Strong in Rehab Start

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – San Francisco Giants right-hander Jake Peavy made his fourth rehab start for the River Cats tonight, throwing seven strong innings as he works his way back to the Giants’ rotation. Despite the solid outing for the veteran right-hander, the River Cats were unable to generate much offense behind him as they dropped game two to the visiting Fresno Grizzlies 3-1.

Prior to tonight’s start, Peavy had failed to reach the sixth inning in any of his previous three starts. He threw 83 pitches in his last start in El Paso, but only managed to go 4.1 innings. He increased both his innings and his pitch count tonight, as he cruised through seven on a rehab-high 95 pitches (64 strikes). Peavy retired the side in order in seventh before giving way to the River Cats bullpen for the eighth. He ended his night having given up 5 hits and allowing 3 earned runs while walking two and striking out 5.

Peavy allowed two runs in the first inning on a two-run double to Fresno’s L.J. Hoes before settling in. He kept the Grizzlies off the board until the fifth when the speedy Tony Kemp hit a long shot that bounced off the wall in right-center field. The ball shot away from Brett Jackson and allowed Kemp to come all the way around for the inside-the-park home run. After the hit by Kemp, Peavy retired the final nine hitters he faced.

Despite Peavy’s effort, Fresno’s starter Asher Wojciechowski was better, holding the Sacramento offense to just 1 run on 5 hits over his seven innings of work. Wojciechowski only gave up one free pass and struck out 5 on his way to the win, his fifth of the season. He is undefeated through seven starts with Fresno. Tyson Perez pitched a scoreless ninth to record his fifth save.

For the second night in a row, the River Cats fell behind early and were unable to recover. Their only run came in the bottom of the fourth inning. After Adam Duvall doubled to right-center, Travis Ishikawa brought him home with a single to right.

Sacramento threatened in the sixth, putting runners on second and third with two outs, but Hector Sanchez struck out to end the inning.

The series finale is tomorrow night as the River Cats send Chris Stratton (0-0, 2.38) to the mound. The start will be Stratton’s third with the River Cats and his first at Raley Field. Fresno will go for the sweep behind their southpaw Luis Cruz (3-2, 4.47). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

The Arena Football League (AFL) Has Signed A One Year Partnership With FilmON Networks

CHICAGO – The Arena Football League (AFL) has signed a one-year partnership with FilmOn Networks that will make the world’s first IP-delivered cable television platform the official provider of international Arena Football in 2015, the League office announced today. This deal gives the AFL access to FilmOn’s 47 million monthly unique users outside of the United States.

FilmOn.com will live stream all games of the 20 week season leading right up to ArenaBowl XXVIII on August 29th. By devoting multiple channels on FilmOn’s system to the AFL, and giving each team its own custom built encoders, every single game will be available to international fans, absolutely free.

This is the second major partnership struck between the AFL and FilmOn in recent years. In 2012, the two entities launched “AFL Classic”, a streaming Internet channel which enabled historic AFL games and content to be streamed at http://www.filmon.tv/tv/afl-classics.

“Every professional sports league has the goal of becoming a global brand,” said AFL Commissioner Scott C. Butera. “Arena Football has a history of playing games overseas and we believe FilmOn will be a strong partner in delivering our content to the world.”

In addition to computer streaming, fans may also download the FilmOn apps for iPhone, iPad, Android devices and Facebook for premium content on the go. AFL games will not only air on the FilmOn digital networks, but also on FilmOn’s Sky Channel 237 in the UK.

“The high-octane of Arena Football puts the tedium of watching an NFL game on a major TV network to shame,” said Alki David, CEO of FilmOn Networks. “It’s exactly what FilmOn users want – action, immediate gratification, thrills – whenever and wherever they want them worldwide.”

About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire 2015 season. This season will also be the first with Scott C. Butera leading the way as Commissioner. The AFL schedule culminates with ArenaBowl XXVIII Saturday, August 29, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Tied 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes Complete The Comeback Over The Sacramento Republic FC With 6-5 Edge In Penalties

San Jose, California – Sacramento Republic FC got off to a quick start and in just the 5th minute were awarded a penalty after defender Emrah Klimenta was tripped in the box. Midfielder Rodrigo Lopez, playing in his first match since May 27, stepped up the box in the 6th minute and sent a hard shot into the right side of the goal, past San Jose keeper Bryan Meredith who dove left.

San Jose took control of the match following the early Republic FC goal and had chances in the 10th, 14th, 22nd and 29th minutes. Republic FC goalkeeper Patrick McLain made two saves and two shots were just wide as San Jose looked to close the gap quickly.

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Republic FC would find a few more looks at goal in the half, tying San Jose with five shots in the first half. The strongest look for a second Republic FC goal came in the 44th minute when forward Cameron Iwasa got behind the defense and sent a low cross to the middle of the box. Forward Justin Braun received the cross, but his shot was blocked by the San Jose defense. Lopez sent the rebound on goal as well, but against the defense stood strong keeping the match 1-0 going into the half.

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Republic FC again came out strong in the second half and doubled their lead in the 54th minute. Klimenta took a lofted pass from Lopez in the back corner of the box, balancing himself before sending a low hard hit ball under the diving Meredith and into the back of the net to put Republic FC ahead 2-0.

San Jose would roar back, however, late in regulation. In the 74th minute San Jose defender Victor Bernardez sent a cross into the middle of the box that found forward Mike Fucito. McLain was able to block the shot by Fucito but an onrushing Chris Wondolowski cleaned up the rebound making the score 2-1.

Wondolowski would strike again in the 79th minute to even the match. Defender Marvell Wynne fought his way past the defense and sent a hard cross into the box which Wondolowski was able to head past a diving McLain, pulling the Earthquakes even 2-2.

The match would remain tied at the end of 90 minutes forcing extra time. Both clubs has chances to scoring in overtime, including open looks for Republic FC substitute forward Adnan Gabeljic and Wondolowski, but neither team could find the net forcing a penalty shootout.

The first two penalties were goals for each side with Lopez and Nemanja Vuković scoring for Republic FC and Wondolowski and Bernardez scoring for San Jose. In the third round both keepers recorded saves. In the fourth round McLain would make a save while Gilberto converted for Republic FC making it a must-make penalty for San Jose midfielder, and Granite Bay native, Tommy Thompson. Thompson would score setting up Klimenta with a chance to win the match for Republic FC. Klimenta sent a low driven shot toward the left side of the goal, but Meredith guessed correctly and made the save forcing the match into sudden death penalties.

The sixth and seventh round of penalties looked much like the first two rounds with David Estrada and Gabeljic converting for Republic FC, while Koval and Barrera converted for San Jose. Defender Shaun Francis scored in the eighth round, putting the pressure on Republic FC defender James Kiffe, who skied his attempt over the crossbar ending the match with San Jose winning 6-5 on penalties.

“I’m incredibly proud of my guys,” said Sacramento Republic FC head coach Preki following the match. “The most important thing is to measure ourselves against MLS teams because that is where we want to be.”

Republic FC will return to USL action on Saturday, June 20, in a battle of top Western Conference teams, when they take on Oklahoma City Energy FC at Bonney Field. Kickoff is 8:00 p.m. The match will be broadcast on CW31, KHTK Sports 1140 AM and streamed live at SacRepublicFC.com/matchday. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.

Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Matt Cain’s Debut Kicks Off Rivalry Series Division Leading Fresno Grizzlies Take Opener 6-3

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – 9,497 gathered at Raley Field Monday night to watch three-time World Champion and three-time All-Star Matt Cain make his Sacramento River Cats debut against the division rival Fresno Grizzlies. Cain was excellent in the early going, striking out the side in the first and second innings, but the Grizzlies powerful offense eventually came through and Fresno took the series opener 6-3.

Cain came into tonight, his second rehab start and his first with Sacramento, on a 75-pitch limit. That number reached 74 (47 for strikes) as he tossed 3.1 innings, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits. He struck out 7, six of which came in the first two innings, and walked 2. His fastball was hitting 91-92 mph consistently, and peaked at 93. Through his first two rehab starts, Cain has thrown 7 innings and struck out 9 compared to 2 walks and is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA.

Despite leaving with one out in the fourth and down by three, the crowd on hand showed Cain their support with a standing ovation. Cain walked off the field with an acknowledging wave to the loyal Sacramento fans on hand.

Cain was followed by Clayton Blackburn and Jean Machi. Together, the trio combined to strikeout 16 Grizzlies.

On the opposite side, Fresno starter Dan Straily was dealing, limiting the River Cats to just 2 hits over 7 shutout innings. He struck out 7 and walked 2 while throwing 96 pitches (64 strikes) on his way to the win. He moved to 5-5 with the win, and lowered his ERA to 4.25. Kevin Chapman picked up the save, his sixth.

With Fresno leading 6-0 in the eighth, the River Cats scored their only runs of the night. Ehire Adrianza knocked in two with a bases-loaded single to left, scoring Carlos Triunfel and Ryan Lollis. Kevin Frandsen would also score on the play thanks to a Fresno throwing error.

The Grizzlies were led by their right fielder L.J. Hoes, who was 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Third baseman Matt Duffy contributed with his sixth home run of the season.

Game two of this quick three-game series will take place tomorrow night. The River Cats will send Jake Peavy (0-1, 8.10) to the mound for his fourth River Cats start. For Fresno, it’ll be the undefeated right hander Asher Wojciechowski (4-0, 4.50). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. (PT).

Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Late Walks Hand River Cats Another Extra Inning Loss; Blach Pitches Six Strong, Bullpen Gives up Late Lead

EL PASO, Texas – Extra innings were needed for the third consecutive game, and like Saturday the Sacramento River Cats were the ones on the losing end of things as they dropped a wild game to the El Paso Chihuahuas 7-6 in 12 innings. Left hander Ty Blach pitched another quality outing, but a rare bullpen lapse earned him a no decision and the team a loss.

Blach (5-6, 3.68) was perfect at the start, retiring the first ten batters he faced before allowing his first base hit in the fourth. He entered the game with the second best BB/9 ratio in the PCL, and made improvements to it as he didn’t walk a single batter for the seventh time in 13 starts. Blach finished the night allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and 4 strikeouts over 6 innings.

In the first three games of the series, the team which scored first went on to lose the game. The River Cats continued that trend as they took a 3-0 lead in the third on a 2-RBI single from Kevin Frandsen, followed by an RBI single from Travis Ishikawa. Frandsen finished the game 3-for-6 with 2 RBIs and a run scored.

The River Cats added two more runs in the fifth on a 2-RBI double by Juan Perez, and then another run in the eighth by Carlos Triunfel. El Paso stuck around all night, hitting home runs in both the seventh and ninth innings to make it a one run game. In the ninth, the Chihuahua tied the game on a throwing error by catcher Trevor Brown, sending the game to extras for the third straight game.

Both teams traded zeroes in the tenth, and then again in the eleventh. In the twelfth, Sacramento got their best chance to win as El Paso sent position player Mike McCoy to the mound, but were set down 1-2-3. Curtis Partch walked four batters in the bottom half, sending the River Cats home with another extra inning loss.

El Paso’s starting pitcher, James Needy (5-3, 7.16), was not as his best Sunday as he allowed 5 runs (all earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks over 5 innings of work. The River Cats bullpen used five pitchers to combine for 5.2 innings of relief work, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits and 5 walks. Jack Snodgrass and Cory Gearrin pitched an inning each and both earned holds.

The River Cats will now head home for a seven game home stand, beginning with three games against the Fresno Grizzlies. Matt Cain (0-0, No ERA) is scheduled to start for Sacramento on Monday, making his second rehab start and first with the River Cats. Cain is a three time NL All Star (’09, ’11, ’12), and threw the first perfect game in Giants history on June 13, 2012. Pitching for Fresno will be former River Cat Dan Strailey (4-5, 4.65). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (PT).

Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Beats Arizona United SC 2-1

Photo By Shawn Jonas

Sacramento Republic FC scores two goals in the final 15 minutes and beats Arizona United SC on the road.

The match started slowly for Republic FC and in just the 9th minute they went down 1-0. Arizona United SC midfielder Danny Garcia sent in a left footed pass from the top right side of the box toward the back post of the goal. Garcia’s pass found the head of forward Long Tan who had found his way behind the defense. Tan headed the ball into an empty net giving Arizona United SC the early advantage.

Republic FC looked to equalize quickly and in the 18th minute had their first good look on goal. Defender Agustin Cazarez sent a cross into the box from the left side. Cazarez’s cross found the feet of forward David Estrada, who tried to turn in the box but the ball was knocked away. Republic FC midfielder Derek Foran took a strong stike toward goal on the rebound but his shot was deflected away keeping the score 1-0.

Republic FC had their best chance of the first half in the 32nd minute. Midfielder Ivan Mirković made a strong tackle in the middle of the field to win the ball for Republic FC. The ball was then sent forward to Thomas Stewart who went one-on-one with Arizona United SC keeper Carl Woszczinski. Stewart looked to slide the ball under Woszczinski with his left foot but the keeper dove quickly down and saved Stewart’s shot attempt keeping the score 1-0 going into the half.

Republic FC came out in the second half very strong attacking the Arizona United SC defense constantly. Republic FC has opportunities in the 57th and 65th minutes with shots by Cazarez but both shots were just off the mark.

In the 70th minute Arizona United SC had a chance to double their lead when Tan took the ball to the far left side of the box. Tan then sent a back-heel pass to Brad Stisser who sent a rocket toward the near post but Republic FC keeper Patrick McLain made a diving save.

In the 76th minute Republic FC finally found an equalizer. Substitute forward Gabe Gissie received the ball on the right side of the field, created space and sent a cross in front of goal. Gissie’s cross found a leaping Cazarez who flicked the ball into the net pulling Republic FC even, 1-1.

Arizona United SC responded quickly and in the 80th minute forward Jonathan Top got the ball in the middle of the field after giveaway by Republic FC. Top had a one-on-one chance but McLain was able to block the ball away. McLain then dealt with the rebound shot by Tan who was following the play.

Republic FC then found a go-ahead goal in the 83rd minute. Defender Emrah Klimenta attacked near the top of the box before stumbling and sending a pass to forward Cameron Iwasa. Iwasa made a quick touch pass to midfielder Danny Barrera who fired a left footed shot past Woszczinski and putting Republic FC up 2-1 for good.

Republic FC will head to Avaya Stadium and look to knock-off their MLS affiliate, the San Jose Earthquakes, in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when they are back in action on Tuesday, June 15. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations