Tommy Stewart’s hat trick leads Republic FC’s U.S. Open Cup win

Republic FC forward Tommy Stewart scored a hat trick and Gabe Gonzalez had a goal to lead Republic FC to a 4-2 win over the Sonoma County Sol on Wednesday night in front of a U.S. Open Cup second-round attendance record of 10,386 at Bonney Field. The previous record was 9,339 set in 2001 between the Columbus Crew and Carolina Dynamo at Crew Stadium.

Sacramento will play another amateur team, Chula Vista FC, in the third round Wednesday at Bonney Field. Chula Vista upset the USL’s Arizona United SC 3-0 on Wednesday.

Republic FC coach Preki had no idea about the severity of Stewart’s injury.

Stewart, Republic FC’s second-leading scorer last season with 13 goals, scored his first goals of the season after spending most of it recovering from foot surgery. But what should have been a an enjoyable night for the native of Northern Ireland turned disappointing when he suffered an apparent right ankle injury in the 87th minute after being tackled by Sonoma County’s Jesus Arroyo, who was given a yellow card. Stewart had to be taken off the field in a stretcher.

Republic FC coach Preki had no idea about the severity of Stewart’s injury.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m waiting for the medical team to tell me.”

Stewart wasn’t the only player to leave because of an injury. Midfielder Octavio Guzman, one of two regulars who started, was forced to leave because of a right leg strain in the first half and defender Matthias Bonvehi had to step off the field in stoppage time. Republic FC played the final minutes with nine players because Preki had used his allotted three subs.

Stewart tallied his first goal in the ninth minute by tapping in a rebound of Emrah Klimenta’s blocked shot. He added his second goal in the 43rd minute with an assist by Zev Taublieb. His final goal came in the 61st minute on an assist by Cameron Iwasa.

Stewart also had a hand in Gonzalez’s goal in the 12th minute, though he wasn’t credited with an assist. His cross found Gonzalez in front of the goal. Gonzalez’s first attempt was blocked by goalkeeper Arturo Ornelas, but Gonzalez connected on the rebound.

Sonoma County made it interesting, though. Omar Nuno’s second goal in the 73rd minute cut Republic FC’s lead to 4-2, then Republic FC goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek was called for a foul in the box trying to make a sliding save on Sol player in the 78th minute. But Taylor Varnadore’s penalty kick hit the right post and bounced away.

Although Guzman and Klimenta were the only regulars to play, Preki still was disappointed.

“Tommy was on the end of some goals tonight, but we should have had more goals,” Preki said. “This game should have been over a long time ago. But we made it difficult on ourselves. We got a little lucky at the end. We’ve got to do a better job of closing games and putting teams away.”

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