SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Wednesday night will be a historic one for the Sacramento Republic FC.
The Republic FC will look to continue their Cinderella run when they host Major League Soccer club, Sporting Kansas City, for the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup. The Kansas City side, which plays in Kansas, will be the third MLS club Sacramento will face in the tournament.
The Republic FC is the lone lower division club remaining in the tournament. Sacramento is looking to become the first lower division club to reach the Open Cup final since the Charleston Battery in 2008.
A non-MLS team hasn’t won the tournament since the Rochester Rhinos finished on top in the 1999 tournament.
Currently, Sporting Kansas City has struggled in the MLS this season with a 5-13-5 record. The Kansas side won’t get flustered that easily, as the club has past success in the Cup, winning the tournament four times since its inception in 1996.
“They have probably one of the most difficult injury-riddled seasons that any Major League Soccer has ever seen,” U.S. Open Cup broadcaster Tyler Terens told FOX40 Tuesday morning. “Two of out of their three best designated players, who make the most money received season-ending injuries before the season even started.”
Sacramento currently holds a 8-5-6 record in the United Soccer League, but are 0-2-2 in the month of July.
Here is the Republic FC’s road to the semifinals.
Sacramento starts tournament at 3-0
The Republic FC started the tournament with a 6-0 victory over the Portland Timbers U23 club from the USL- League Two.
Sacramento followed that victory with a 2-1 win over the Central Valley Fuego FC from the USL-1 and the Indomitable Club bested fellow USL Championship team, Phoenix Rising FC, in a 2-0 win in the Round of 32.
Republic FC gets past MLS squad for historic victory
On its way to the semifinals, Sacramento bested the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS in the Round of 16 on May 25.
The Republic FC defeated the Earthquakes 2-0 in front of a sold-out crowd at Heart Health Park. It was Sacramento’s first time hosting an MLS opponent in the Round of 16 and it was also the first time the Republic FC played at home in the round.
Luis Felipe and Rodrigo Lopez each put Republic FC on the board. Felipe put Sacramento ahead with a goal in the 28th minute and Lopez extended the lead with an 84th-minute score.
The win advanced the club to their first trip to the tournament’s quarterfinals.
“The way that (Republic FC head coach) Mark Brigg’s side plays is they’re incredibly disciplined, they have belief and they seem to be one of those teams of destiny,” Terens said. “They also have a bunch of players who are in their first season with the team, but it looks like they’ve been playing together for years.”
Republic makes history in quarterfinals
The boys in Old Glory red pulled off another upset on June 21 when they took down another MLS club in the Los Angeles Galaxy in the quarterfinals.
Lopez and Felipe each scored again for the Republic FC in the 2-1 road victory at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.
Lopez netted Sacramento’s first goal in the fourth minute, his fourth goal of the Cup. After LA tied it up in the 18th minute, Felipe found the net in the 70th minute, his third goal of the tournament.
After pulling off the upset, Sacramento became the first non-MLS team to reach the Open Cup semifinals since 2017. The Republic FC also became the first USL club to take down two MLS teams in the same tournament since FC Cincinnati in 2017.
“They’ve already been two quality teams,” Republic FC color analyst Devon Kerr told FOX40 Tuesday morning. “They beat San Jose and they beat LA Galaxy. I would actually make the argument that their chances against Sporting Kansas City are better than those two previous teams.”
Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
FOX40 will air a special preview, “Quest for the Cup,” on television and online at FOX40.com Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. prior to the match, which will be available on ESPN+.