The date is September 20, 2014. Bonney Field is the site of the 2014 USL Playoffs semifinal clash between Sacramento Republic FC and LA Galaxy II. It is the inaugural season for both clubs and they are tantalizingly close to the title game, a remarkable achievement.
I’m talking, of course, about the “Miracle at Bonney,” one of the landmark memories in Sac Republic history. Coming against the Los Angeles team — the LA Lakers-Sacramento Kings playoff battles set the stage for a new rivalry in USL — spiced up the matchup that little bit more, and before we knew what the independent/MLS2 team split tended to be in the league, a team of MLS2 players taking on an upstart independent team with big ambitions set the stage for a memorable game.
And then...Los Dos’ Charlie Rugg scored a brace before halftime and it seemed like it was just not Republic FC’s night. As the video below notes, an expansion team making the playoff semifinals is a great season, nothing to scoff at.
But Sacramento wouldn’t give up, and in front of a home crowd, Rodrigo Lopez and company wrote their names in SRFC lore. Lopez scored a second-half hat trick — remember, the comeback only started in the 70th minute! — to flip the result and send Republic on through to the final.
We’ll go over the title game another day, but the Miracle at Bonney is one of the top games in both Sacramento Republic history (for obvious reasons) but also a landmark game in USL lore, too. At a time like this, when the season is suspended and people are battling to help each other, stay healthy and at times literally save each other, here’s hoping the spirit on display in this game gives you heart and helps you push on to get to the next stage in your journey.
What do you think? What are your memories of this game? Leave a comment below.