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Preseason Roundup – Lopez, Ukaegbu lift Republic FC past Monterey Bay

By Staff, 03/03/24, 10:09AM EST


Moreno on target as Locomotive downs New Mexico; Silva, Agudelo find net in San Antonio victory

Sacramento Republic FC's Chibi Ukaegbu is congratulated by teammates after his goal against Monterey Bay F.C. on Saturday afternoon at Heart Health Park. | Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Rodrigo Lopez notched a goal and assist while young defender Chibi Ukaegbu scored the winner as Sacramento Republic FC took a 2-1 victory against Monterey Bay F.C. at Heart Health Park on Saturday afternoon to close out the preseason.

Sacramento was rewarded for its pressure early in the match and opened the scoring in the 17th minute after Jared Timmer switched possession to the left side to find Damia Viader, whose initial cross found Jack Gurr, and his delivery to the penalty spot allowed Lopez to head home for his second goal in as many games.

The hosts kept control of possession for much of the second half as Monterey Bay’s chances were kept to a minimum. A pair of opportunities around the hour-mark nearly doubled the Quails’ lead as a long-range shot by Viader was sent away by the opposing goalkeeper before Rafa Jauregui’s cross nearly connected with Gurr as he crashed the net. 

Monterey Bay leveled the game in the 65th minute when Mobi Fehr found the net for the visitors, but Sacramento answered 10 minutes later when Ukaegbu netted his first professional goal off a corner kick by Lopez. The 16-year-old’s goal marked the ninth for Republic FC by a homegrown player in preseason camp, and secured victory for the hosts.

EL PASO LOCOMOTIVE FC 3, NEW MEXICO UNITED 0: Justin Dhillon and Amando Moreno each scored first-half goals as El Paso Locomotive FC took victory against New Mexico United at the Westside Sports Complex in El Paso.

El Paso took the lead in just the fifth minute when Dhillon finished a chance created by Bolu Akinyode. The sides then exchanged opportunities, including a shot for New Mexico by Harry Swartz that went over the crossbar and a last-ditch clearance by El Paso moments apart that kept the visitors from leveling the score.

Locomotive doubled its lead five minutes before halftime, however, as Moreno put away a rebound opportunity against his former club. The game was chippy throughout and each side received red cards in the second half before Ricardo Zacarias closed out the scoring late on for the hosts.    

SAN ANTONIO FC 2, AUSTIN FC II 1: Lucas Silva and Juan Agudelo scored early and late in the first half as San Antonio FC closed out its preseason slate with a victory against Austin FC II of MLS NEXT Pro at Toyota Field on Saturday afternoon.

San Antonio sprung quick into action as Silva netted his first goal for the club in the opening minutes of play. Agudelo then doubled the lead with a header off a corner kick from Jorge Hernandez shortly before the halftime break.

Austin converted a penalty kick early in the second half, but SAFC’s second-half lineup which included a number of SAFC Pro Academy players saw out the result ahead of the club’s season opener next Saturday.

“I thought we controlled the game from start to finish,” said San Antonio Head Coach Alen Marcina.
“You know, we were brave and confident on the ball. Our ability to provoke the pressure and the find the free player either in the wide area between the lines or beyond the last line was really, really good. I think our pressing actions can improve, but we’ll get there.”

COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS FC 3, UNION OMAHA 2: Koa Santos and Alex Andersson scored inside the final 10 minutes as Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC pulled out a victory against Union Omaha of USL League One at Weidner Field.

The Switchbacks opened the scoring five minutes before halftime when Jairo Henriquez found the net with a powerful finish from the right side of the penalty area, but Omaha leveled just past the hour-mark. Santos put the Switchbacks back on top with six minutes to go, however, as he broke in behind the Omaha defense and deftly flicked his finish past the advancing goalkeeper.

Santos then added an assist in the 90th minute, picking out Andersson to give the Switchbacks a two-goal advantage. Omaha pulled a goal back in second-half stoppage time, but Colorado Springs held firm to wrap up its fifth win in seven preseason outings ahead of its trip to face Miami FC next Saturday in the season opener.  

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