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Golden night: Sacramento Republic 3, Tacoma Defiance 1

Formella, Iwasa pace Republic FC in victory.

Courtesy of Republic FC.

Sacramento Republic FC won their third game on the trot, as they downed Tacoma Defiance 3-1 Saturday night at Papa Murphy’s Park.

For the second time against Tacoma, Dariusz Formella scored a brace, while Cameron Iwasa hit a career milestone in the win.

Formella had a sharp shot in the 9th minute, but his try was saved by Tacoma goalkeeper Christian Herrera.

Sacramento put the visitors under pressure early, and found a reward for it in the 14th minute, as Formella followed up on Iwasa’s blocked shot and buried the chance to make it 1-0.

Then history came in the 32nd minute, as Cameron Iwasa scored his long-awaited 50th career goal in the USL Championship. Villyan Bijev went on the counterattack, with Iwasa supporting him. Bijev sent over a square pass with the goalkeeper to beat, and Iwasa got the landmark goal on a tap-in.

It got better, as Formella scored his second goal of the night in the 41st minute, avoiding a defender on a ball over the top, taking a single touch to evade him, then burying the shot from close range.

So with a 3-0 lead at halftime, surely Republic FC would not allow Tacoma to come back in the game and tie it up 3-3 this time, right?

Well, the start of the second half didn’t start auspiciously, as Sam Rogers scored for Defiance in the 50th minute, with a wide-open shot off a corner kick. Three minutes later, Alec Diaz hit a shot that beat Rafael Diaz in Sacramento’s goal, but it clanged off the far post. Sacramento escaped that time, but it was clear Tacoma were entering the second half with renewed energy.

Mark Briggs brought on some subs to counter Tacoma’s surge, and in particular, Sam Werner’s stint off the bench helped considerably, the winger holding onto the ball and getting a couple scoring opportunities at the other end to hold Defiance at bay.

In the end, Sacramento did hold on for the win, and while Diaz’s clean sheet streak was snapped at 319 minutes, he’s allowed just one goal now in four matches and Republic FC are 3-0-1 in that span. Add to that SRFC put up three goals again against Tacoma, when they’ve struggled to score against any other opponent, and maybe they’re finally finding their footing and the rhythm to be playing at their best.

Sac Republic will get a week before their next game, at home next Saturday against Portland Timbers 2. The teams met last weekend, with Sacramento beating them 1-0 in Portland, and Portland are still winless through six games this season. Will that form hold, or will they spring an upset against Republic FC? Sacramento are playing well, so I’m sure everyone associated with the club will be salivating over the match.

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