Teenagers Julian Chavez & Mario Penagos Lead Republic FC to 5th Straight Win
A dramatic finish in Portland as the Sacramento Republic FC earned their 15th point in five matches thanks to late goals by two former academy players. Sacramento just avoided giving the Timbers 2 their first point of the season with the 2-1 victory.
After 88 minutes of scoreless soccer, featuring a ton of scoring chances for the Republic, Sacramento finally got on the board thanks to a sharp run and calm finish from 18-year-old Mario Penagos. For the Elk Grove native, on his first ever professional contract after coming up through Sacramento’s academy system, it was his first career goal.
Minutes later, early into stoppage time, Portland stunned Sacramento with an equalizer off the boot of Dyson Clapier.
Penagos’ moment seemingly spoiled, Sacramento went right back on the attack. Portland, content with the draw and their first point of the season, sat back and attempted to absorb the Republic’s pressure. After a couple chances and clearances, the ball found the foot of “Juju” Chavez, who won the game all on his own.
“It’s amazing for them, amazing for their development – we needed something in the moment. We needed something special and both of our academy players stepped up and provided something special for the team,” said Republic head coach Mark Briggs, “That’s just rewarding for everyone in general, so I’m over the moon for Mario (and) Juju. They deserve to be rewarded for the goals they’ve scored and giving them time in the crucial moment shows the trust we have in them”.
With the win and the three points, the Republic FC are back at the top of USL Group A, tied with Reno 1868 at 21 points. Sacramento returns home on Wednesday, September 9th for their rescheduled match against Orange County SC.