Midfielder Max Alvarez had a goal and two assists, and Republic FC posted its sixth shutout of the season, defeating CD Aguiluchos USA 5-0 in the second round of the 103rd U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night at Bonney Field.
Republic FC hosts the Kitsap Pumas FC of Washington on June 1.
Alfonso Motagalvan, Mackenzie Pridham, Carlos Rodriguez and Thomas Stewart scored first-half goals, and Alvarez added a 90th-minute free-kick goal to his first-half assists. Sacramento had a 16-4 shot advantage in the first half; 25-10 for the game.
CD Aguiluchos USA came close to ending Republic FC’s shutout bid several times, including two shots that hit the crossbar. But Republic FC held firm for goalkeeper Evan Newton to earn his first clean sheet with the team. He had five saves.
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“There’s a lot of patterns of play that could have been better,” said Republic FC coach Paul Buckle. “But we were very clinical right to the end with Max’s goal. We couldn’t score more goals…it didn’t come, but I was pleased with the clean sheet.
“I was pleased Evan Newton played, he’s been working very hard beside Dominik (Jakubek). There’s a lot of positives to come out, but there’s always things to work on.”
When Motagalvan headed Alvarez’s corner kick past goalkeeper Kevin Gonzalez in the 24th minute, it marked the first time Republic FC had scored a corner-kick goal since Sept. 13, 2014.
16-4 Republic FC’s shot advantage in the first half
Rodriguez scored off Alvarez’s corner kick in the 44th minute.
Pridham scored off Alvarez’s deflected free kick in the 36th minute. Stewart added a 45th-minute goal, making up for an unsuccessful penalty kick earlier.
Alvarez topped it all off with his left-footed, upper-corner free kick from 20-yards out just before the final whistle.
“That’s something we’ve been working on,” Alvarez said of set plays. “Guys are making better runs. Everyone played their part in those goals. It was good to get a couple of free-kick goals. It’s been a long time.”
Buckle was pleased, too, and noted that Alvarez’s goal was every bit as good as one might see at soccer’s highest levels.
“To strike a football like that in the top corner,” Buckle said. “If that was in the Premier League or La Liga, they’d be talking about that for weeks and weeks.
“We did look dangerous from set plays,” Buckle added. “I’ve seen Carlos score goals at the academy level from corners. He’s dangerous. We had some pretty good runs in there tonight, and the delivery was excellent. We looked like we could score every time.”
Buckle gave Rodriguez and midfielder Matt LaGrassa their first starts and Newton made his first appearance since he played in friendlies against the Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes to start the season.
“In all do respect to the opposition – I thought they gave everything – it’s not always easy to play against lesser opposition because they have nothing to lose and we have everything to lose. There is an element of pressure….but we scored five goals. I’ve got to be pleased with the defensive side, because we could have gotten sloppy and let them in.”
Defender Emrah Klimenta, who leaves Thursday to join the Montenegro Men’s National Team for a friendly against Turkey, said clean sheets are expected every time Republic FC steps on the field.
“The goal was to keep the zero on our side and not let the score,” Klimenta said. “We did our job.”
He said that he hopes the five goals also will open the floodgates for Sacramento. Republic FC has scored nine goals in its last three matches after getting just three in its first eight.