Reno ties Sac Republic just before time runs out

Vilyan Bijev, who is nominated for USL Goal of the Week for his goal against Orange County on Sept. 10, had three shots on Sept. 12 against Reno.

Republic FC elevated its current undefeated streak to eight games after Saturday night’s 3-3 draw against Reno 1868 FC at Papa Murphy’s Park, but they fell just short of breaking their record for consecutive wins after Reno tied the game at 3-3 just before the final whistle blew.

The result leaves Sacramento level on 25 points with Reno and the point earned on the night helps the Indomitable Club inch closer towards solidifying a playoff spot which the team can accomplish next weekend against Tacoma Defiance.

Mark Briggs’ men fell behind in the 2nd minute of the match when Foster Langsdorf connected with a Christiano Francois crossed and directed his header into the goal to lift Reno to a 1-0 lead.

But it took Republic FC all of three minutes to equalize when Sam Werner drilled home a header of his own after Kharlton Belmar delivered a perfectly placed cross from the right wing. The goal was Werner’s first score on the season while the assist was the first of two for Belmar on the night.

Sacramento snagged its first lead of the match when Belmar set up his sides’ second strike after he spotted Dariusz Formella on the left flank with plenty of space between himself and the goal. The Polish playmaker drove forward and fired a left-footed shot towards the far post and by the visiting goalkeeper. The goal was Formella’s team-best sixth with SRFC this season and Belmar has now notched a team-high four assists in 2020.

In the 67th minute, Reno was awarded a penalty after the referee pointed to the spot and Kevin Partida’s well-placed effort into the far corner knotted the game at 2-2.

Republic FC reclaimed the lead in the 73rd minute when a loose ball from a corner kick found Cameron Iwasa who laid a delicate pass off to Jaime Villarreal at the top of the box and the midfielder drilled his first touch into goal for his first score of the season. Newly acquired on-loan striker from OKC Energy FC Frank Lopez made his debut for the club as a 78th minute second half substitute for Sam Werner.

“We’ve got to get Frank fit and we’ve got to get Frank fit pretty quickly. I think you could all see that but I thought he just brings an intensity, he brings in aggression. You saw him go in and slide in with a goalkeeper. He ruffles feathers on opposition teams. He’s a nice guy off the field but when he goes on that field he’s not a nice guy. And we need more of that. So I was happy with Frank and what he contributed for the 15 minutes he was on. And I think there’s a lot more to come from him,” Sac Republic coach Mark Briggs said after the game.

Villarreal’s strike lifted the Indomitable Club to a 3-2 lead before 1868 FC found a late equalizer by way of Aidan Apodaca in the 90th minute.

“They played well, we were the better team. But we have to learn. It’s not good enough to keep saying next time, next time, no there’s not a next time. There’s that 90 minutes and we should have won the game,” Briggs said afterward.

Kharlton Belmar’s offensive efforts and contributions earned the striker a selection to the USL Championship Team of the Week bench for Week 12. The honor is Belmar’s ninth selection to the USL Team of the Week over his decorated Championship career.

Belmar bagged his first career multi-assist game with Sac Republic FC after the attacker set up the first two of his sides’ three goals during the Indomitable Club’s 3-3 draw this past weekend against Reno 1868 FC. The former VCU Ram elevated his assist tally on the season up to four, which is currently the most by a Republic FC player. Earlier in the week, Belmar tallied his second assist with the club when Dariusz Formella redirect Belmar’s strike on goal into the back of the net to spark Republic FC’s win against Orange County SC.

The first assist came in the 5th minute when Belmar sprinted with possession deep into Reno territory and whipped in a cross that Sam Werner guided home with a header to level the game at one. In the 32nd minute, Belmar spotted Dariusz Formella in space, allowing the Polish playmaker to drive forward and deliver a strike to lift SRFC to a 2-1 lead.

Belmar created four scoring chances, served three crosses and contributed three shots to lead the attack for the Indomitable Club. Belmar’s 27 total passes in the opponent’s half was also tied with Drew Skundrich and Matt Mahoney for the most by a Republic FC player this past weekend.

Belmar is the Indomitable Club’s ninth Team of the Week selection and fourth on the bench during the 2020 campaign – joining a trio of Republic FC players have been named to the Team of the Week bench, including Juan Barahona for Week 1, Hayden Sargis for Week 7 and Cameron Iwasa for Week 8.

The Sac Republic have a third straight home game ahead of them when Tacoma Defiance visits Papa Murphy’s Park on Saturday, Sept. 19. Kickoff for the clash against SRFC’s fellow Group A opponent is set for 7:30 p.m.