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Republic FC Blanks S2 in Opener

By CHARLIE CORR –, 03/26/16, 12:30AM EDT


Stewart’s second-half PK lifts Sacramento at Starfire

TUKWILA, Wash. – In a matchup of two teams that bowed out during last year’s Western Conference Quarterfinals, it was Sacramento Republic FC that got off to a winning start to open 2016. Tommy Stewart’s second-half penalty kick was the difference as Sacramento defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2 by a 1-0 margin at Starfire Stadium on Friday, the opening day of the 2016 USL Kickoff Weekend.

The lone goal came in the 63rd minute after forward Adam Jahn had been taken down in the penalty area. Stewart slotted his right-footed shot into the right side of the net as S2 goalkeeper Charlie Lyon had guessed the opposite direction.

The opening half of Friday’s match could have lent itself to some additional goals in the match. For as one-sided as Sacramento’s interplay and possession was in the early going, Republic FC didn’t create an on-goal chance until the 22nd minute as JJ Koval shot from 23 yards out. His low attempt toward right of the frame one-hopped Lyon and he secured it to prevent a rebound.

S2 generated some occasional chances as the opening half progressed, including Aaron Kovar’s left-footed attempt from the right side in the 42nd minute. His strike eluded a Sacramento defender but went directly to Republic FC goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek as the teams went into the half tied 0-0.

Approximately 13 minutes after Stewart’s go-ahead goal for Sacramento, Kovar tried to bring his S2 side back into the match with a left-footed shot from distance in the 76th minute that took a deflection off Sacramento’s defense. Jakubek reacted well as he dove to his right to maintain the shutout.

Friday’s game featured the S2 return of Andy Craven. The Seattle Sounders FC forward had signed with the first team during the 2015 season, but an MCL sprain in mid-July delayed his rise and it has taken him some time to work his way back to match fitness.

Sacramento’s roster included San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Tommy Thompson who has been loaned to Republic FC. His work rate for Republic FC (1-0-0, 3 points) was evident throughout much of the match in offensive creativity, generation of set-piece chances and the ability to track back on the defensive end.

Seattle (0-1-0, 0 points) is in the midst of a five-game homestand and a stretch that features seven of its first eight games at Starfire. S2 will be on short rest with a match against Arizona United SC on Wednesday, March 30 (10:30 p.m. ET kickoff).

Sacramento’s next match is also against Arizona when it prepares for its home opener on Saturday, April 2, at Bonney Field. Kickoff is at 10:30 p.m. ET.