Zeiko Lewis’ Sacramento Republic suffer US Open Cup heartbreak
Sacramento Republic, whose squad features Bermudian Zeiko Lewis, saw their historic run in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup come to a grinding halt after stumbling at the final hurdle.
The USL Championship side lost 3-0 in the final against Major League Soccer team Orlando City at Exploria Stadium in Florida on Wednesday night with Lewis left out of Mark Briggs’s squad.
Going into the clash as underdogs, the USL Western Conference side held their heavily fancied opponents at bay until they finally pulled away with three unanswered goals in the final 15 minutes to capture a maiden title among the MLS ranks.
Uruguayan winger Facundo Torres broke Sacramento’s resistance in the 75th minute when he bent the ball around goalkeeper Danny Vitiello after the visitors were caught in possession in their own half.
Torres then doubled the hosts advantage and his tally from the penalty spot five minutes later after fellow forward Benji Michel was brought down in the area.
American Michel then tapped in Orlando’s third after getting in behind the defence to put the match further beyond Sacramento’s reach.
Prior to their demise, Sacramento punched well above their weight having toppled MLS sides LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City on the way to becoming the first team from outside of the MLS to reach the final of the prestigious competition since Lewis’s former team Charleston Battery in 2008.
In addition to clinching their first major title and $300,000 in prize money, Orlando also secured their spot in the Concacaf Champions League, a feat no USL team has achieved.
Sacramento, who host Loudoun United at Heart Health Park in the USL Championship at the weekend, earned $100,000 in prize money as runner-up.