It was a busy night Wednesday for Republic FC goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek.
He faced 26 shots and made a club-record 11 saves, including a penalty kick, while playing behind mainly a makeshift lineup of reserves and trialists against Liga MX side Atlas FC.
But Jakubek wasn’t happy because Sacramento fell 4-1 just hours after Preki had announced that he was stepping down to take a coaching job with an unnamed team in the United Kingdom.
Jakubek, ever the perfectionist, thought he should have saved a 65th minute penalty kick by Juan Carlos Medina and prevented at least one other goal. On the PK, he dived to his right and got his left foot on the Medina’s shot but it still deflected into the net. Twenty one minutes later he stopped Jorge Zarate’s PK attempt.
“I’ve faced eight PKs in two years and probably saved four or five, but I’ve touched three of those I didn’t get,” Jakubek said. “Dang, I could have saved seven out of eight so far.”
It was only Jakubek’s third appearance of the season as the backup to starter Patrick McLain.
“I’m really proud of how everybody played,” Jakubek said. “There were a lot of new faces on the pitch, and we gave the ball away a lot. But I had a lot of fun. I was super busy. I haven’t seen much action this year, so it was nice to get in the goal and get peppered a little bit.”
Preki would have preferred that Jakubek not have to exert himself so much.
“He made some nice saves,” Preki said. “But I don’t like to see my goalkeeper that busy. This is probably as busy as my goalkeeper has been since I’ve been here. So that doesn’t tell me good things.”
Preki played 19 players, including three trialists, to give new coach Paul Buckle a look at many of the players on the roster. Buckle was in attendance.
But Preki rested most of his starters for Saturday’s USL showdown against rival Los Angeles Galaxy II at Bonney Field. It will be Preki’s farewell game before heading overseas.
Jakubek thought Preki’s announcement had no impact on how the team performed in front of the crowd of 10,419, one of Republic FC’s rare non sellouts.
“All it influenced is us trying to get two wins for him because he means so much to the club, the players and the fans,” Jakubek said. “We wanted to come out here and put on a good show for him and send him off the right way. I don’t think he is too happy about tonight.”
Sacramento played well in a first half that ended 1-1. Thomas Stewart scored on a header from a free kick by Max Alvarez in the 13th minute to give Sacramento a 1-0 lead. Juan Vigon knotted the score for Atlas FC with goal in the 25th minute from an assist by Luis Tellez.
But Atlas FC took a 2-1 lead on Nery Caballero’s 30-yard upper corner blast – “that was a nice goal,” Jakubek admitted – in the 58th minute, followed by Medina’s PK, then a 75th minute goal by Cristian Tabo.
“I thought the first group did OK, the second group let itself down,” Preki said. “But I got to give them a little bit of credit. That group never played together. When you go into the second group, then the third group, it gets to be difficult against a team like that with quality players.”
Preki now turns his attention to his final game on Saturday against a Galaxy II team that Republic FC is 6-1-1 against all-time. Republic FC is in first place in the Western Conference with 30 points. The Galaxy has 29.
“Saturday, hopefully we can close one chapter here and, hopefully, that will start the next chapter in a positive way,” he said. “(But) this is always going to be my team.”