Adnan Gabeljic had a hat trick and Octavio Guzman, Tommy Stewart, Zev Taublieb and Rodrigo Lopez scored goals to lead Republic FC to a 7-3 win over Chula Vista FC in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night in front of an announced crowd of 10,018 at Bonney Field. The seven goals were a Republic FC record.
The win moves Republic FC into the fourth round against the San Jose Earthquakes on June 16 at Avaya Stadium. Last year, the Earthquakes defeated Republic FC 2-1 in the fourth round.
Gabeljic tallied in the 43rd, 59th and 89th minutes, and Stewart had his Open Cup-leading fourth goal in the 52nd minute. Stewart had a hat trick in last week’s 4-2 second-round win over the Sonoma County Sol before suffering a right ankle injury late and being carried off in a stretcher.
Stewart was surprised by his quick recovery.
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“I thought it was a lot worse,” Stewart said of the injury. “It was throbbing at the time and I was in such pain that I didn’t want to put any weight on it. ... But I was icing it like crazy, and thank goodness it wasn’t a lot worse. ... It was good to get back out there and get 90 minutes under my belt. It’s just about winning games. I’m happy to contribute.”
Stewart was also pleased that his hat trick was followed up by one from Gabeljic, who is in a three-way Open Cup tie for second in goals scored.
“The Cup is going all right for us so far,” Stewart said. “We’re pretty pleased with how we’re doing, although we’ve let in a couple of goals. The main thing is winning these kind of Cup games because you can get these tricky opponents. We wanted to get to play San Jose, so now we can focus on that.”
Chula Vista FC, which upset the USL’s Arizona United SC 3-0 in Scottsdale last week, was bidding to be only the second amateur team to reach the fourth round this season. But Republic FC dominated play in out-shooting Chula Vista 26-5.
Lopez played particularly inspired, and scored in the 85th minute from an assist by Gabe Gissie. Lopez learned earlier in the day that the USL was suspending him for the next three league matches after he was red carded “for violent conduct” early in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at the OKC Energy FC.
So the star midfielder’s next on-field action likely will be against the Earthquakes.
Despite setting a franchise record for goals, Republic FC coach Preki wasn’t pleased.
“Some moments were good, but a lot of moments weren’t good enough for me,” he said. “To give up three goals, that’s incredibly disappointing for me. Some of the guys aren’t working hard enough for the team. Guess what’s going to happen? They are not going to be here. Overall, I was disappointed with the work rate of some of the guys.”