SACRAMENTO – With the California State Fair lighting up the sky in the background, neither triple digit heat, wildfire smoke in the air, nor the relentless attack of the presumably more talented roster of the MLS-side Sporting Kansas City team they hosted as their opponent, was capable of stopping the men in old glory red from achieving victory in U.S. Soccer’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal match. Through full time plus stoppage, two extra time periods and a thrilling penalty kick shootout, Republic FC fought hard and played well. Sacramento’s incredible captain, Rodrigo Lopez, sealed the victory with a successful penalty kick to win the shootout 5-4 over Sporting Kansas City.

With a sell out announced last week, Republic FC stepped onto the pitch surrounded by a full house. There wasn’t an empty seat in Heart Health Park. Despite multiple advances, shots on goal, and miraculous saves, the first half ended 0-0. The second half of regulation play was no different. Fans were riveted to their seats as extra time began. First, 15 minutes one way. Then, 15 minutes the other way. It was the same story. There were shots, there were saves, and the score remained tied 0-0. Then came the shootout.

throughout it all, club majority owner Kevin Nagle stood tall and watched. He never had any doubt. He never showede any concern. He was confident the team could win, and they did. The back-and-forth pentalty kicks took place right in front of him. At one point, Sacramento appaered to make a stop that would give them the lead, but it was called back. The second attempt by Sporting KC kept things even.

Then came KC’s legedary Graham Zusi. He failed to convert. It all came down to Sacramento’s great captain, Rodrigo Lopez. A wall of crowd noise, surrounded him as he prepared to shoot. The moment he kicked the ball, there was no doubt. It was going in. It went in. The crowd erupted in cheers. The team went wild. The players from Sporting KC looked stunned. Sacramento did it. They pulled off the unimaginable. The indomitable club won the 2022 U.S. Open Cup semifinal.

Sacramento now advances to play MLS side Orlando City SC on the road, in Orlando, in the Open Cup final scheduled for September 7. Further details about the next match will be coming soon. For now, let the celebration begin. For Sacramento, For Nagle, Lopez, all the players, staff and fans, the dream remains very much alive.

Sacramento’s next match is July 30 at USL Championship side Charleston Battery. The match will be played at the Battery’s Patriots Point Stadium at 4:30 PM PST. The club then plays a slate of six USL Championship league matches in Auguat before heading Louisville for a USL side match on September 3. Then they are off to Orlando to face MLS side Orlando City in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final on Wednesday, September 7 at 5:00 PM PST. Within league play, Republic FC won’t return home to host a USL opponent until Saturday, August 6, when they face Rio Grande Valley FC at Heart Health Park at 8:00 PM. Broadcast details are pending.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering professional soccer, including USL and Sacramento Republic FC, since their debut in 2014. All images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire and ©2022 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. He can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.