Sacramento Republic FC remains indomitable despite loss

Huge turnout reflects massive support for Sacramento’s MLS hopeful club


Isaac Streeter

Sac Republic Fans gathered at the Sacramento Convention Center to watch the US Open Cup Final as Sacramento Republic took on Orlando City SC Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. Sac Republic lost 3-0, ending the Cinderella team’s run at the cup. Canva graphic curated by Alexis Hunt.

Isaac Streeter

Sacramento Republic FC suffered a 3-0 loss to Orlando City SC in the final match of the 2022 U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, as Sac Republic’s historic run finally came to an end. 

At 108 years old, The U.S. Open Cup is the oldest ongoing soccer tournament in the United States and the 2022 field included 103 teams spanning four professional leagues and four amateur leagues. 

Since the formation of MLS in 1996, only three non-MLS clubs have reached the final match. On July 27, Sacramento Republic of the United Soccer League Championship became the fourth, defeating Sporting Kansas City in penalty kicks. 

The final match was set for Sept. 7 to be played in Orlando. For those who could not make the trip, the free-to-enter watch party was held at the Sacramento Convention Center, put together by Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby. 

Originally intended to take place in Cesar Chavez Plaza, the event was moved indoors at the convention center due to high tempratures  currently sweeping Sacramento. 

The location change came on Monday. The vice mayor’s special events coordinator Deanna Read described it as an “all hands on deck” collaboration. Read listed Sacramento Republic, Ashby’s staff, The Visit Sacramento Downtown Partnership and the convention center’s general management as those who made the late move happen.

According to Victor Alaniz of Sacramento Republic Game Entertainment, over 7,500 people RSVP’d to attend the event. Among them were many Sacramento State students and Alumni. 

John Stawiecki, a Sac State alumni, said he fell in love with Sac Republic after moving to Sacramento five years ago. 

He described the team’s ascension to the final as a historic moment for the club and the watch party as “the second best thing to being in Florida to watch [the match] live.” 

Lucas Risly, a senior communications major, said he has been a fan of the club since their formation and gave his team some words of encouragement.

“We’re the small market team; we’re the little guy,” Risly said. “Do it for SacTown.” 

The club didn’t surrender a goal to Orlando City until the 75th minute of the game. Following this, Orlando City opened the floodgates scoring two more goals in the 80th and 95th minute of the contest. After running a gauntlet of three MLS teams, Sacramento Republic came up just short against the fourth. 

“Just Short” has become a running theme in the history of Sacramento Republic FC. With the 2019 acceptance into MLS being put on indefinite hold in February of 2021 and the future of the proposed stadium project in Sacramento’s Railyards District up in the air, inability to cross the finish line feels par for the course for the club. 

Despite the disappointing end to the club’s run for the cup as the final whistle blew, the crowd gathered in the convention center gave their Sacramento Republic a standing ovation. Sacramento Republic’s motto is “Urbs Indomita,” Latin for Indomitable City. Despite the loss and all the adversity the club has seen, the spirit and enthusiasm shown tonight by its fans truly shows what it means to be ”indomitable.“

Vice Mayor Ashby took to the stage to speak to the still cheering crowd, calling for MLS to rethink their decision to pause the club’s promotion. 

“We’ve put ourselves on the map,” Ashby said. “MLS are you watching? Because we’re right here.”