Sacramento Republic FC Stun Two-Time Open Cup Champs LA Galaxy 2-1 In Quarterfinal CupsetGoals from Rodrigo López and Luis Felipe Send Second Division Side to its First Open Cup Semifinal; Quarterfinals Continue Wednesday on ESPN+ with Hudson River Derby Between New York Red Bulls and New York City FC at 8 p.m. ET, Plus Sporting Kansas City Hosting Div. III Union Omaha at 7:30 p.m. CT
Sacramento hero Rodrigo ‘RoRo’ Lopez added to his tournament goal-scoring tally, and Luis Felipe Fernandes found a hole to put in the match-winner in the second half as Sacramento Republic FC defeated LA Galaxy 2-1 in a Quarterfinal match at Dignity Health Sports Park.
“It’s a [sic] great moment for Sacramento. We’ve made history once again and we’re not [sic] done,” said Lopez, who scored the match-winner against San Jose Earthquakes in the Round of 16 and now sits atop the tournament scoring charts with four goals to his name.
Semifinal Berth for Sacramento
Goalkeeper Daniel Vitiello was flawless in the second half for the Republic, who become the first USL Championship side to reach the Semifinal round since FC Cincinnati did it in 2017. “This team, this club, these fans [are] absolutely incredible,” added Vitiello, who finished with four saves on the night.
Sacramento, which came in riding a three-game shutout streak, has allowed just 12 goals in 15 matches this season in all competitions.
“They get everyone behind the ball and they defend, and they defend and they do that well,” said LA Galaxy manager Greg Vanney.
Lopez opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he got the last touch to beat LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann on the end of a clinical counter-attack.
“I think their first possession, we’re down 1-0,” Vanney said. “Right off the bat we didn’t manage a transition ball against a team that, to be fair, is stingy defensively.”
Galaxy Equalizer a False Dawn
The Galaxy dominated possession and earned an equalizer in the 18th minute when Efrain Alvarez’s corner kick glanced off Republic defender Conor Donovan and into the back of the net.
In a battle between two fifth-place teams – LA Galaxy are fifth in MLS’ Western Conference, while Republic FC are fifth in the USL Championship’s Western Conference – the lower-division side played with greater confidence and resolve.
“We didn’t create the overload in midfield that we wanted and for them it was pretty simple man-to-man defense because our forwards we’re pretty high and that allowed their midfielders to sit and defend,” added Galaxy boss Vanney.
Patience Key for Republic
Sacramento defender Jack Gurr hit the post in the 49th minute with a header, and Republic FC were content to sit back and wait for their moment to strike.
Following a turnover by Raheem Edwards in his own half in the 70th minute, Luis Felipe touched the ball ahead into space before unleashing a daisy-cutter through traffic that got underneath Klinsmann.
“Honestly, I don’t think the Galaxy took it seriously and we took advantage,” Luis Felipe said.
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez came on in the second half but was unable to produce a shot on target for LA, which hasn’t reached the U.S. Open Cup Semifinals since 2017.
Up next for the victorious Republic is a date with the winner of Wednesday’s Quarterfinal between four-time champions Sporting Kansas City and third-division underdogs Union Omaha of USL League One.
-LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP MATCH REPORT-
Los Angeles Galaxy (Div. I MLS) vs. Sacramento Republic FC (Div. II USLC) - Quarterfinal
June 21, 2022 – 7:30 p.m. PT – 76 degrees, sunny
Dignity Health Sports Park; Carson, Calif. (12,315 attendance)
SAC – Rodrigo López (Douglas Martínez) 4th minute
LAG – Conor Donovan (OG) 18
SAC – Luis Felipe (Lee Desmond) 70
LAG: 33-Jonathan Klinsmann; 44-Raheem Edwards (4-Sega Coulibaly, 77), 3-Derrick Williams, 20-Nick DePuy, 18-Kelvin Leerdam (C) (2-Julián Araujo, 59); 11-Samuel Grandsir, 37-Daniel Aguirre, 6-Rayan Raveloson, 26-Efraín Álvarez; 99-Dejan Joveljic (14-Chicharito, 59), 9-Kévin Cabral (7-Víctor Vázquez, 59)
Substitutes not used: 1-Jonathan Bond, 15-Eriq Zavaleta, 27-Carlos Harvey
Head coach: Greg Vanney
SAC: 31-Daniel Vitiello; 4-Lee Desmond, 24-Conor Donovan, 5-Dan Casey, 3-Damià Viader; 20-Matt LaGrassa, 8-Rodrigo López (C) (14-Duke Lacroix, 62), 96-Luis Felipe, 2-Jack Gurr, 7-Keko Gontán (10-Zeiko Lewis, 13) (17-Luther Archimède, 86); 42-Douglas Martínez
Substitutes not used: 1-Carlos Saldaña, 19-Nick Ross, 34-Rafael Jauregui, 99-Maalique Foster
Head coach: Mark Briggs
Stats Summary: LAG / SAC
Shots: 11 / 15
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 5 / 9
Fouls: 14 / 10
Offside: 2 / 1
LAG – Kévin Cabra (Caution) 25th minute
SAC – Jack Gurr (Caution) 70
LAG – Derrick Williams (Caution) 42
LAG – Daniel Aguirre (Caution) 52
LAG – Julián Araujo (Caution) 90+1
LAG – Samuel Grandsir (Caution) 90+2
Referee: Malik Badawi
AR1 & 2: - Eduardo Jeff, Kali Smith
4th Official: Samantha Martinez