Rodrigo Lopez scores twice as Republic FC beats Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2


Star of the match: Midfielder and 2014 USL MVP finalist Rodrigo Lopez continues to dazzle at Bonney Field in scoring both Sacramento goals, including an unassisted 60-yard towering rocket in the 71st minute into en empty net after catching the Whitecaps’ goalkeeper far off his line. He also scored in the 32nd minute from an assist by David Estrada. They were Lopez’s 13th and 14th goals in the 15 USL matches at Bonney Field.

Unsung hero: Republic FC goalkeeper Patrick McLain made a one-handed save on Victor Blasco’s blast in the 44th minute. Blasco had split the defense for a 1-vs.-1 against McLain. McLain finished with five saves against Vancouver (1-3-0).

For the defense: Behind McLain and center defender Mickey Daly, Republic FC posted its first shutout of the season. Sacramento came into the match having allowed nine goals in four USL matches, with eight coming in the second half.

Moving up: The win moves Sacramento (3-2-0) into a three-way for first place in the Western Conference with the Seattle Sounders 2 (3-0-0) and Arizona United SC (3-0-0). All have nine points.

Up next: Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against Portland Timbers 2 at Bonney Field.

Bill Paterson