Sacramento Republic FC use goals from Luis Espino and Villyan Bijev to erase an early deficit and defeat LA Galaxy II 2-1 in front of sold-out crowd at Papa Murphy’s Park.
Los Dos started the match out with a bang. Forward Ethan Zubak scored in the first 10 seconds, a USL record for fastest goal, beating the previous held record of Jordan Hamilton’s 18th second strike for Wilmington Hammerheads FC in 2014. Midfielder Alejandro Covarrubias took the opening kickoff and sent it long to Zubak who headed the ball down and sent a dipping shot from about 25 yards out that went up and over Dominik Jakubek and into the back of the net.
Republic FC would answer back with a goal in the 26th minute. Forward Sammy Ochoa attacked down the right side, getting all the way to the touchline. Ochoa dragged the ball back to his left foot and sent a curling cross to the far post. Midfielder Luis Espino, making his Republic FC debut tonight, went unmarked at the far post as he sent his header into the back of the net for the equalizer. The score would remain 1-1 going into the half.
Tyler Blackwood had a glorious chance to put Republic FC up a goal in the 59th minute when he used his speed to blow past the Los Dos defense. Blackwood took three touches towards keeper Eric Lopez, who had to come off his line to stop the attack. Blackwood blasted a low shot, but Lopez slid and deflected the breakaway chance out of harm’s way.
Republic FC would find the go-ahead goal in the 61st minute. Midfielder Villyan Bijev had the ball at his feet in the center of the pitch, 25 yards away from goal. He picked his head up and curled a right-footed shot past the defenders in his way and a diving Lopez for his second goal for Republic FC and putting the home side ahead 2-1.
Second-half substitute Harry Williams nearly added a third goal in the 89th minute. Williams ran onto a long through ball and beat the defense as he headed for goal. Lopez came rushing off his line to cut down the angle for Williams to shoot at. Williams sent a left-footed shot on goal, but Lopez went to ground to make the save. The match ended a few minutes later with Republic FC securing the three points with a 2-1 victory over their rivals LA Galaxy II.
“We looked dangerous and we deserved to win,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle after the victory. “We have shown great character this season. To come back when you fall behind, it shows character and we’ve got that. There are no easy games in this league.”
Republic FC continues their four-match home stand when they host Oklahoma City Energy FC on Saturday, Sept. 23. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Papa Murphy’s Park. Tickets are available at SacRepublicFC.com.
Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations