Cameron Iwasa and Adam Jahn scored second-half goals to rally Republic FC to a 2-1 win over Real Monarchs SLC and extend its USL unbeaten streak to six games Saturday night in front of a large contingent of Tower Bridge Battalion rooters at Greater Nevada Field in Reno.
Ricardo Velazco put the Real Monarchs (4-6-4, 16 points) ahead 1-0 in the 42nd minute when his curling right-footer from above the box eluded Republic FC goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek.
Iwasa tied it for Republic FC (6-3-3, 21 points) in the 47th minute with a 9-yard blast in the middle of the box from a cross by Emrah Klimenta that was set up by a through pass from Octavio Guzman.
Jahn, on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes, scored in the 55th minute on a rebound after his header from a cross by Iwasa was blocked by Real Monarchs goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez in front of the goal. It was Jahn’s second consecutive game winner against Real Monarchs as he scored the lone goal in Republic FC’s 1-0 win Wednesday at Bonney Field.
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It was a wide-open match as Republic FC had 17 shots, eight on frame, and the Real Monarchs had 10 shots, three on the goal.
The match, witnessed by an announced crowd of 5,182, was held in Reno because the home stadium of the Real Monarchs and its Major League Soccer parent club, Real Salt Lake, in Sandy, Utah, was being re-sodded.
Republic FC entered the match short-handed on defense. Central defenders Carlos Rodriguez (hamstring) and Derek Foran (hip) did not play. Foran had started all 11 previous USL matches.
He was replaced by Mike da Fonte, making his first USL start and only his second league appearance after playing 45 minutes on Wednesday against the Real Monarchs. The former New York Red Bulls II defender, who battled a leg injury this season, played well and almost scored a goal on a header in the first half from a Chris Christian cross. But Fernandez made a brilliant save.
Midfielder Daniel Trickett-Smith also missed the match. He suffered a groin injury in practice on Friday.
Republic FC coach Paul Buckle has been impressed with his players’ resolve after playing 10 matches in 35 days. The team has gone 6-1-3 during that span.
“We’ve had our injuries; we’ve had a lot of games,” Buckle said before Saturday’s match. “I think the players have done very well with that. We’ve had an awful lot of games on Saturday, then Wednesday. So it’s one last push, and maybe we can give a rest to our players.”
This was the second time Republic FC played in Reno this season. Sacramento played the Liverpool U-21s to a 2-2 draw in a friendly on May 25.
Reno 1868 FC, which has the same ownership group as the Reno Aces Triple-A baseball team, will join the USL next season as an expansion franchise.
So the two matches gave Reno officials a chance to gauge local interest and give staff the opportunity to understand the logistics of converting a baseball diamond to a soccer pitch. The new club also unveiled its inaugural kits at the match.
Buckle and the Republic FC players say Reno’s entry into the league could lead to a derby between the two teams because of the proximity.
“I’m excited for the league and Reno,” Jakubek said before the match. “I expect that will be a good one. They have a little buzz going on up there. ... It will be nice to have more teams from around the area. It makes the game a little more exciting.”
Reno 1868 FC president Eric Edelstein said he is looking forward to going head-to-head next season with Sacramento.
“We’re building a great relationship, and there’s no better club to learn from than Sacramento in terms of how to structure your club and how to build a terrific fan base,” Edelstein told USL.com. “So we’re learning a lot from them as we go. They’re all tremendous people, and I hope we beat the snot out of them when we play them next year.”
Republic FC’s next game will be next Saturday at 8 p.m. at Bonney Field against the first-year Rio Valley Grande FC Toros of Edinburg, Texas.