Sacramento Republic FC defeats 2022 champions San Antonio FC 3-1 in playoff match
Oct 28, 2023, 10:00 AM | Updated: Oct 30, 2023, 8:23 am
Sacramento Republic FC scored a big win Friday to advance to the USL Championship Western Conference finals.
They defeated San Antonio FC, the 2022 league champions, 3-1 at home.
After a scoreless first half, Russell Cicerone scored Republic’s first goal in the 48th minute. Nick Ross followed in the 68th minute and Damià Viader in the 80th minute.
San Antonio scored their one goal of the match after the 90th minute, well beyond the time needed to try to mount a comeback.
This was the third time both teams faced off against each other this year. The first match in April ended in a scoreless draw in Texas.
In the second contest, the Republic notched another decisive 3-1 victory, but that physical battle left several Republic players injured and two San Antonio players, including their goalkeeper, ejected with red cards.
Republic went on to end their regular season at the top of the Western Conference and have secured home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Defender Ferrety Sousa told KCRA 3 ahead of the game on Friday that fans could expect the Republic-San Antonio rematch to probably be “just as physical” as the last time the teams faced each other.
“We’re always up for that battle with San Antonio. They’ve been the reigning champions last year, and we’re also coming off previous victories last year, so we’re just trying to come in and see who is the best in the west right now,” he said.
Sousa, who joined Republic FC in 2022 and has dealt with knee and ankle injuries this year, said, “We sacrifice a lot out there for the boys. We try to leave it all out there on the field.”
— daniel macht (@danmacht) October 28, 2023
A Republic FC match guide listed San Antonio attackers Tani Oluwaseyi, Rida Zouhir and Santiago Patiño as opponents to watch and noted that the team ended their season tied for having the most goals across the league.
Sousa said he and his teammates had been preparing for this moment, hoping to advance to their conference finals and then win the team’s first championship since Republic’s inaugural season in 2014.
Republic’s match played out at the same time as the Kings’ home opener against the Golden State Warriors across town. The Kings fell to the Warriors 122-114.
Republic FC’s playoffs quest continues Saturday, Nov. 4, at Heart Health Park, with their opponent still to be determined between the Phoenix Rising and Orange County SC.
Tickets go on sale for the public on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 3 p.m.