Lopez hat trick completes story-book ending

[USL PRO: Semifinals] Sacramento Republic FC's magical season continued as Rodrigo Lopez scored a hat trick in the final 22 minutes to erase a two-goal halftime deficit and send Republic FC into the USL PRO championship game with a 3-2 victory over LA Galaxy II. The first two goals were from the penalty spot and the third was on a free kick.

Forward Charlie Rugg, one of six Los Dos starters who have played for the Galaxy first team, scored in the 26th and 44th minutes to stake Galaxy II to a 2-0 lead at the half. But Republic FC drew even on Lopez goals from the penalty spot in the 68th and 85th minutes.

Lopez, who has played for six U.S. and two Mexican clubs, completed his hat trick in stoppage time when he bent his free kick around the wall for the first hat trick by a Republic FC player at Bonney Field.

“I’m lucky I have a team like this, a group of men behind me and a coaching staff that supports me and is always pushing me to be better,” said Lopez. “If I were to write a story of how my career would end up, I don’t think I could have even imagined that.”

Republic FC will host the Harrisburg City Islanders next Saturday in the USL PRO championship match.

Sept. 20 in Sacramento, Calif.
Sacramento 3 LA Galaxy II 2. Goals: Lopez pen. 68, Lopez pen. 85, Lopez 90; Rugg (Stojkov) 26, Rugg (Jamieson) 44.
Sacramento -- Gleeson; Klimenta, Daly, Vukovic, Kiffe; Guzman (Gilberto 46), Mirkovic, Alvarez, Lopez; Stewart, Jahn (Braun 46).
LA Galaxy II -- Perk; Sorto, Meyer, Steres, Bli (Franco 14); Jaime Villareal (Covarrubias 78), Auras, Jamieson (Bowen 82), Stojkov; Hoffman (Jose Villareal 54), Rugg.
Att.: 8,000.
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