Sac Republic’s Jaime Villarreal

Sac Republic’s Jaime Villarreal in the first round of the playoffs Oct. 10.

Republic FC’s 30-point 2020 USL Championship season ended in Arizona on Saturday night after losing 1-0 to Phoenix Rising FC.

A 0-0 stalemate sent the match into extra time where the hosts found a late winner in the 114th minute. Republic FC were the only team to hold Rising FC scoreless at home across 90 minutes during league play in 2020, a season that saw Phoenix score the most goals in the league during the regular season alongside Reno 1868 FC – who PRFC will meet in the Western Conference Semifinals in Nevada.

Mark Briggs’ men had their best chance in the first half when Dariusz Formella steered a close-range effort on target that Rising FC goalkeeper Zac Lubin kicked away in the 23rd minute. Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu threaded a ball between two defenders to Villyan Bijev on the flank where the winger rifled a cross into the box that Kharlton Belmar nudged to Formella on the doorstep of goal but the Phoenix GK was in the right place at the right time.

Both Formella and Belmar finished the night tied for the most scoring chances created against the Group B winners with three opportunities each.

The game was destined for extra time after a 0-0 result following regulation but the two SRFC attackers carved out another chance in the 95th minute when Belmar nodded a cross down for Formella in the middle of the box but the Polish playmaker narrowly missed the target.

Republic FC goalkeeper Rafael Diaz came up big in the 103rd minute with a diving stop to his left and preserve the shutout for his side.

But the hosts managed to find the back of the net in the 114th minute when Santi Moar set up Solomon Asante to give Rising FC a late 1-0 lead.

With a solid season wrapped up, the Republic is still making an impact.

On Oct. 12, through the Micron Foundation, Micron Technologies supports educators and students in the communities where employees live and work.

With an assist from the Sacramento Republic FC Foundation, San Juan Education Foundation has been selected to receive a $50,000 grant from Micron Technology to provide San Juan Unified students with broadband solutions to alleviate barriers to distance learning. The San Juan Unified School District will work with Micron’s COVID Task Force to deliver solutions to students.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education, requiring students, staff and the whole community to engage in learning in new ways,” said San Juan Unified Board of Education President Paula Villescaz. “With the support of amazing community partners, we’re working every day to meet the challenges that have been created like closing the digital divide by ensuring each of our students has access to devices and internet connectivity.”

“Micron’s generous gift will help San Juan Unified overcome digital education barriers, especially new challenges that are directly connected to distance learning,” said San Juan Education Foundation Board Chair Bryan McKrell. “We are grateful to community partners like Republic FC for their ongoing support of our schools and students.”

“Starting the school year with remote learning and school closures has been difficult for many families in Sacramento, and we are determined to provide resources to those who need it most,” said Kris Baxter, corporate vice president and general manager of the Embedded Business Unit at Micron. “At the Micron Foundation, we are always looking for ways to enrich the learning experience, and this grant will help provide our local students and teachers with the necessary equipment to keep the school year moving ahead during this challenging time.”

– Will Strome