Soccer

FC Cincinnati signs Republic FC playoff hero

Ex-Republic FC goalkeeper Even Newton (12) tries to block a shot by San Antonio FC forward Cesar Elizondo (5) during a 2016 match at Bonney Field in Sacramento.
Ex-Republic FC goalkeeper Even Newton (12) tries to block a shot by San Antonio FC forward Cesar Elizondo (5) during a 2016 match at Bonney Field in Sacramento. aseng@sacbee.com

Cincinnati has reportedly leapfrogged Sacramento as the favorite for the next Major League Soccer expansion team yet to be announced. Now the city’s soccer club has grabbed one of Republic FC’s star players out of free agency.

Goalkeeper Evan Newton, 29, has signed a one-year contract with FC Cincinnati, the team announced Friday. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

“(Newton) is an excellent shot stopper and commands his box very well,” said Alan Koch, FC Cincinnati coach, in a news release. “I firmly believe that he has not yet peaked and am excited to see what (goalkeeper coach) Jack Stern and our club can get out of him. He is a fantastic guy who will mesh very well with the group that we have assembled.”

Newton’s two saves in a penalty kick shootout helped Republic FC upset No. 1 seed Real Monarchs SLC in the USL Western Conference quarterfinals last season. He finished eighth in the conference in saves despite alternating starts with Dominik Jakubek early in the 2017 season. FC Cincinnati keeper Mitch Hildebrandt led the league with 105 saves before signing with MLS club Atlanta United in December.

Newton was on the San Jose Earthquakes’ roster in 2012 and 2013, but left to play for USL expansion team Arizona United (now Phoenix Rising FC) after failing to appear in an MLS match. Newton then went on to become a finalist for USL Goalkeeper of the Year with Oklahoma City FC in 2015 before signing with Republic FC.

Republic FC also announced Friday that they have released forward Trevin Caesar “by mutual consent.” Caesar had seven goals and three assists in his only season with the team, appearing in 27 USL matches.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

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