Lopez ensures Sac Republic remain unbeaten in nine consecutive matches at home

Vilyan Bijev looks to stop a Tacoma Defiance player during Sacramento’s tie with Tacoma on Sept. 20.

Republic FC came from behind with a three second half strikes to earn a point at home against Tacoma Defiance following Sunday night’s 3-3 draw at Papa Murphy’s Park on Childhood Cancer Awareness Night presented by UC Davis Health.

Rodrigo Lopez leveled the match late as the playoff-bound boys in Old Glory Red still have yet to lose at home all season. The home fixture saw gold nets decorating the field with eight targets behind the net to help raise funds for research.

The result elevated SRFC’s current unbeaten tally up to nine straight fixtures as Mark Briggs’ men have not been defeated since late July.

Tacoma took an early lead in the third minute by way of Jesus Perez.

Republic FC knotted the game at 1-1 when Villyan Bijev – who thought he had scored earlier in the first half before being ruled offside – netted his third goal of the campaign. Defender Hayden Sargis delivered a towering longball to Sam Werner on the wing who whipped in a low cross that found Bijev at the far post and the winger slammed his shot into net with his first touch.

The boys in Old Glory Red doubled their lead on the hour mark after a Tacoma handball forced the referee to point to the spot where Kharlton Belmar stepped up and calmly fired home his first goal for Sacramento.

Six minutes later, Defiance managed to equalize when Alec Diaz scored for the visitors. The Pacific Northwest club then took its second lead of the match when Ray Serrano scored to make it 3-2 in favor of Tacoma.

But Republic FC was far from finished and in the 90th minute, Rodrigo Lopez steered a shot from outside the box by the visiting goalkeeper to level the game 3-3. A loose ball fell to RoRo who rifled his shot into the back of the net for his first goal since returning to the club.

Goalkeeper Brady Scott made his first start in net for the Indomitable Club since joining on-loan from Nashville SC in August and finished the night with one pivotal save in his Sacramento debut. Also earning a spot in the starting eleven was defender Juan Barahona who returned from injury and made his first start since the March 7 match against FC Tulsa where he earned a place on the Week 1 Team of the Week bench.

Republic FC midfielder Rodrigo Lopez has been nominated for the USL Championship Fans’ Choice Goal of the Week for his Week 13 heroics at the tail-end of the Indomitable Club’s come-from-behind 3-3 draw against Tacoma Defiance on Sunday night at Papa Murphy’s Park.

Voting ends on Thursday, September 24 at 9:00 a.m. PT and fans can vote for RoRo’s stellar strike on USLChampionship.com.

The goal – Lopez’s first of the season – came on the cusp of stoppage time as a loose ball fell to RoRo towards the top of the box and the veteran midfielder rifled a right-footed effort past the visiting goalkeeper and tie the game with just minutes left to play. RoRo’s goal also just so happens to be on the seven-year anniversary of the Miracle at Bonney – the night Lopez netted a hat trick to send SRFC to the USL Championship finals.

Next up for the boys in Old Glory Red is a trip to Group A leaders Reno 1868 FC on Saturday, Sept. 26. Kickoff against the club’s regional rival is set for 6:30 p.m.