Tommy Thompson has been considered one of America’s top prospects since he signed with the San Jose Earthquakes three years ago after playing one season at Indiana.
But one thing the former Granite Bay High School star hadn’t done a lot of as a pro is put the ball in the net.
That ended in a big way Saturday night against the Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Bonney Field.
Playing on loan from San Jose, the 20-year-old Thompson scored two goals for the first time as a pro to lead Republic FC to a 2-0 win in front the franchise’s 34th consecutive USL sellout, an announced 11,569.
Republic FC (4-3-1, 13 points) also produced its fifth shutout and kept its USL-best goals-allowed total at three in beating Seattle (1-5-3, six points) for the second time this season.
It was Republic FC’s second consecutive multi-goal game – it beat the LA Galaxy II 2-0 on May 7 – after having scored just two goals through its first sixth matches.
3 Goals scored by Republic FC’s opponents this season, the fewest allowed by a USL team
But Thompson produced the sizzle on Saturday as Republic FC snapped a two-match home losing streak.
The midfielder tallied his first goal in the 32nd minute after Cameron Iwasa was knocked down in the box by Sounders 2 defender Michael Nelson.
There was some confusion about who would take the penalty kick. At first it looked like Iwasa would but the bench called on Thompson.
Thompson’s penalty kick was blocked by Sounders 2 goalkeeper Charlie Lyon, but the quick-footed Thompson beat Lyon to the rebound and pounded it in.
“I was just happy to see it go in the back of the net,” Thompson said.
So was Republic FC coach Paul Buckle.
“Tommy Thompson is a really bright player,” he said. “He was onto it in a flash and buried it, and that settled us down.”
Thompson’s second goal in the 47th minute came before many fans were back in their seats from the break. Thompson slalomed among three Seattle defenders and blasted the ball past Lyon from the top of the box into the right corner of the net.
“I got a good ball in the attacking third, got by one guy, saw some open space and took a few more touches and tried my luck,” he said. “If you don’t shoot, you don’t score.”
Thompson’s goals were only the second and third of his pro career. He has yet to score for San Jose in a Major League Soccer game. He scored his first USL goal last year in Republic FC’s 3-1 win over the Tulsa Roughnecks FC.
“It’s exciting,” Thompson said of the brace. “But for me it’s more about getting the three points.”
Thompson and forward Adam Jahn were on loan for the game because the Earthquakes did not have a match this weekend. Thompson played 89 minutes before being replaced by Mackenzie Pridham. Jahn logged 72 minutes before giving way to Tommy Stewart.
The Sounders 2 also had four players on loan from its MLS soccer affiliate.
It was a different match than Republic FC has seen at Bonney Field, where teams usually bunker in. Seattle came out attacking from the start and finished with 13 shots. Republic FC needed a season-best five saves from goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek to produce the shutout. Sacramento took 16 shots.
“We’re delighted to win here at Bonney Field after a couple of defeats here that really hurt,” Buckle said. “But we need to strangle teams because we should have had three, four, five goals. I’m very pleased with the clean sheet and the spirit of the team.”
Taking in the match was former Republic FC star Rodrigo Lopez, who played this past season in Mexico. He was serenaded to chants of “RoRo” by the Tower Bridge Battalion and other fans as he walked through the stands.
Before the match, longtime U.S. women’s national team defender Christie Rampone put on a clinic for 40 youth players and held a question-and-answer session with a large group of Republic FC fans.
She is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champion and has the second most appearances in international matches by a woman for any country.