On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the Capital City, Sacramento Republic FC and OKC Energy FC faced off for the first time in this young season. Both squads came into the match undefeated — Republic FC 1-0-1 and Energy FC at 2-0-0.
Republic FC Manager would go with the following starting XI:
The Republic would start the match by pressing high and on the front foot, which immediately paid dividends. In the 16th minute, Midfielder Ray Saari sent a ball in to the top of the box that Cameron Iwasa quickly gathered, made a quick turn right than left and hit a low left-footed shot that beat Energy FC keeper Bryan Byars for a 1-0 advantage.
Just three minutes later (19th minute), Stefano Bonomo collected a through ball, put in on frame, but his shot was stopped. Amazingly, Bonomo was able to regain possession and was taken down in the box by Byars and the Quails were awarded a penalty.
Iwasa calmly stepped up and easily converted the penalty, and with it, notched his second goal of the match giving the Republic a 2-0 lead in the 21st minute.
It was was Iwasa again in the 27th minute volleying home a beautiful looping ball from defender Mitchell Taintor to give the Republic a three goal lead, and with it, the backflip celebration that fans at Papa Murphy’s Park haven’t seen in a while. Notably, it was Iwasa’s first career hat trick as a member of the Republic and fastest hat trick in club history.
That record was previously owned by Tommy Stewart, who notched a hat trick in 28 minutes as a second half sub in a 6-1 win over the OC Blues FC on August 17, 2014.
Energy FC would pull one back in the 29th minute when midfielder Rafa Garcia hit a shot left of goal that just beat the outstretched arms of Republic keeper Josh Cohen.
If four goals in 29 minutes were not enough action for fans, midfielder Sam Werner would score his first goal as a member of the Republic in the 45th minute to extend the Republic lead to 4-1 on an assist from who else — Iwasa.
The whistle would blow shortly thereafter, and the Quails would take an impressive 4-1 advantage to the locker room. Republic absolutely dominated Energy FC and deserved every one of their four goals.
In the second half, both teams would have opportunities, but make no mistake about it, this match was decided in the first half.
With the win, Republic move to 2-0-1 (7 points) on the season, while Energy FC fall to 2-1-0 (6 points) respectfully. Republic play next on Monday, April 1 when the face Seattle Sounders FC 2 on the road. The Quails will be looking to extend their unbeaten streak to four matches and their second-consecutive road victory.
Sacramento Republic FC: 4 goals, 14 shots, 6 shots on target, 40.5 possession, 5 corners, 0 offsides, 3 yellow cards.
OKC Energy FC: 1 goal, 8 shots, 2 shots on target, 59.5 possession, 1 corners, 2 offsides, 1 yellow cards.
Republic FC Lineup: Josh Cohen, Shannon Gomez, Mitchell Taintor, Haris Chantzopoulos, Sam Werner (OUT, 74’), Drew Skundrich, Dekel Keinan, Ray Saari (OUT, 52’), Elliott Hord, Stefano Bonomo (OUT, 85’), Cameron Iwasa.
Republic FC Bench: Rafael Diaz, Hayden Partain, Matt Mahoney, Keven Aleman, Tyler Blackwood (IN, 85’), Jaime Villarreal (IN, 52’), Villyan Bijev (IN, 74’).