Forward Thomas Stewart scored two goals to lead Republic FC to a 2-0 win over the Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Saturday night in front of an announced sellout crowd of 11,442 at Bonney Field. It was Republic FC’s 22nd consecutive USL regular-season sellout.
The win moved Republic FC (10-7-3) to within three points of the first-place Sounders 2 (11-7-3) and Los Angeles Galaxy II and within two points of the third-place Colorado Springs Switchback FC in the highly competitive Western Conference.
Stewart, who has battled injuries and a crowded field of forwards in making only his fourth USL start, scored his first league goal of the season on a one-touch shot from an assist by Rodrigo Lopez in the 36th minute. Stewart added a second goal in the 83rd minute after taking a long, lofted pass from Danny Barrera and beating goalkeeper Charlie Lyon to score into an open goal.
Lopez’s assist was his 23rd in USL play, a USL career record. It broke a tie with Orlando City SC’s Kevin Molino.
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Paul Buckle, in his third week as Republic FC’s coach, unveiled a new formation that featured Stewart as the lone forward. With five midfielders, that helped keep the Sounders 2’s potent offense in check. Seattle entered the match with 37 goals, second-most in the Western Conference.
Republic FC goalkeeper Patrick McLain had three saves. Lyon also had a strong match with six saves, including knocking away a near post blast by Mickey Daly in the 64th minute from a well-placed corner by Barrera.
Republic FC got a break in the 30th minute after Daly knocked down Seattle’s Aaron Kovar in the box. Kovar’s penalty kick went wide left.
Seattle played a man down for the final 14 minutes after captain Amadou Sanyang received a red card for a studs-up tackle on Octavio Guzman, who was injured on the play and forced to leave the game. He was replaced by Justin Braun.