Something big happened last night: our lower-division, professional soccer team Sacramento Republic FC played in the semifinals for the US Open Cup for the first time ever. Better yet, it was at a sold-out Heart Health Park — our very own home stadium at Cal Expo — with 11,000+ spectators cheering on in support.
Let that sink in for a minute — or reach the back of the net, if you catch our meaning. It was one of the biggest sporting events to hit the River City in recent memory.
Sac Republic FC took on Sporting Kansas City in the club’s tenth competitive match against an MLS team, and won 5-4 in a match that was scoreless through the first 120 minutes until ultimately being decided by penalty kicks. This is a huge moment for the Sac soccer team. Here’s why:
🏆 What is the US Open Cup anyway?
Founded in 1913, the US Open Cup is the longest running soccer competition in the country + the world’s third oldest open soccer tournament. It uses a knockout cup structure, meaning that once a team loses, it’s out for good. Naturally, only American teams can participate, but it’s significant that both major and minor league clubs can take the pitch for the trophy.
The 2022 Cup — which is the first in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic — featured 103 teams with a prize pot of $300,000 for the winning club.
🔥 Sac Republic FC’s Historic Run
First off, we must reiterate that this is the first time the club has made it to the semifinals in its history. Before this, however, the team was knocking on victory’s door: Republic FC made it to the Round of 16 three consecutive times from 2017-2019.
Some key takeaways:
- 12 straight home victories — one of the longest home unbeaten streaks in the modern US Open Cup era
- 16-1-0 record for Cup games at Heart Health Park (that’s wins-draws-losses)
- First lower-division team to make it to the final since 2008
🥅 What’s next for the team?
The club will travel to take on Orlando City on Wed., Sept. 7, in the U.S. Open Cup finals, where they’ll attempt to be the first non-MLS team to win since 1999.
But that’s not all — the team’s motto is “Indomitable Club, Indomitable City” after all. It will continue to play in the Western Conference, where it is currently ranked No. 7. Their next home game is against Rio Grande Valley on Sat., Aug 6. See the full schedule.