They withstood the taunts, the jeers and were assaulted by liquid projectiles after the final whistle, but a new day has dawned in the Republic.

Rodrigo “RoRo” Lopez added to his tournament goal-scoring tally and Luis Felipe Fernandes found a hole to put in the match-winner in the second half as Sacramento Republic FC defeated the LA Galaxy, 2-1, in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Tuesday night.

“It’s a [sic] great moment for Sacramento. We’ve made history once again and we’re not [sic] done,” said Lopez, who scored the match-winner against San Jose Earthquakes in the Round of 16 and now sits atop the tournament scoring charts with four goals.

Goalkeeper Daniel Vitiello was flawless in the second half for the Republic, which become the first USL Championship side to reach the semifinal round since FC Cincinnati in 2017.

“This team, this club, these fans [are] absolutely incredible,” added Vitiello, who finished with four saves.

Sacramento, which entered with a three-game shutout streak, has allowed only 12 goals in 15 matches this season in all competitions.

“They get everyone behind the ball and they defend, and they defend and they do that well,” Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said.

Lopez opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he got the last touch to beat Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann on the end of a clinical counter-attack.

“I think their first possession, we’re down 1-0,” Vanney said. “Right off the bat we didn’t manage a transition ball against a team that, to be fair, is stingy defensively.”

The Galaxy dominated possession and earned an equalizer in the 18th minute when Efrain Alvarez’s corner kick glanced off Republic defender Conor Donovan and into the back of the net.

In a battle between two fifth-place teams – LA is fifth in MLS’ Western Conference, while Republic FC is fifth in the USL Championship’s Western Conference – the lower-division side played with greater confidence and resolve.

“We didn’t create the overload in midfield that we wanted and for them it was pretty simple man-to-man defense because our forwards we’re pretty high and that allowed their midfielders to sit and defend,” Vanney said.

Sacramento defender Jack Gurr hit the post in the 49th minute with a header, and Republic FC was content to sit back and wait for its moment to strike.

Following a turnover by Raheem Edwards in his own half in the 70th minute, Luis Felipe touched the ball ahead into space before unleashing a daisy-cutter through traffic that got underneath Klinsmann.

“Honestly, I don’t think the Galaxy took it seriously and we took advantage,” Luis Felipe said.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez came on in the second half but was unable to produce a shot on target for LA, which hasn’t reached the semifinals since 2017.

Up next for Republic is a date with the winner of Wednesday’s quarterfinal between four-time champions Sporting Kansas City and third-division underdogs Union Omaha of USL League One.

 

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