Sacramento Republic FC are champions.
Sacramento’s nascent soccer club took the USL Pro Championship Saturday night, in front of yet another sell-out crowd at Bonney Field.
Some might argue it was anticlimactic. After all, one week earlier, representatives from Major League Soccer were in town evaluating Sacramento as a potential location for an expansion team -- a potential major promotion for Sac Republic FC.
And after all, that game was played against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sac Republic’s regional rival and the only team to hand them a home loss this year.
And after all, that game was a come-from-behind win for Sac Republic, seal in extra time by the team’s captain Rodrigo “Roro” Lopez, who score a hat trick and all three goals for his squad in the game.
So yeah, you could argue Saturday’s championship win was anticlimactic. But there were 8,000 fans on hand who would probably disagree.
"This is a replica of the trophy we're going to win tonight. Go Republic!” shouted Dario Gonzalez of Sacramento, holding-up a tin foil replica of the USL Pro Cup.
The team's first season ends in the team’s first championship game. It was hosted at Bonney Field -- a field that Sac Republic FC has a dream of abandoning as it moves into Major League Soccer and a new 18,000 seat stadium in Sacramento's Railyards in years to come.
The team caught the eye of MLS after shattering USL Pro attendance records in its first season.
Gonzalez says he’s not surprised.
“You could tell Sacramento is a soccer town. You would always read reports about the viewership for World Cups. So it was a just a matter of time before they hit it big with a team," he said.
And ironically- hitting it big for this team may not have as much to do with winning the USL Pro trophy tonight, as it would be getting the right decision out of Major League Soccer this December.