Nathaniel Carrasco Brace Lifts Sacramento Republic U-14 to 4-0 Win vs. Oakwood Soccer Club

WESTFIELD, Ind. (June 20, 2016) - A three-goal performance in the first half would prove to be all that was needed for Sacramento Republic to earn a dominant victory during the second featured game of the 2017 U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-14 Summer Showcase Tuesday.

Led by a brace from forward Nathaniel Carrasco, Sacramento Republic would tack on one additional goal in the second half to seal the deal.

After Day 1's first featured game between LA Galaxy and Georgia United needed nearly an entire first half to get the scoring started, Sacramento Republic wasted little time to get on the scoreboard. In just the third minute of play, building off of a down-field throw-in, team captain Nathaniel Carrasco dribbled across the top of the box, appearing to pose little danger before letting a left-footed strike fly from four yards outside the box. Notching his 43rd goal of the season and fifth in his last three games, Carrasco immediately sprinted to the bench to celebrate with his teammates.

"He is a hungry kid," Sacramento Republic head coach Mikey Varas said of Carrasco. "He works really hard. He's got a nose for the goal, clearly, but I am really proud of the rest of his game, defensively, keeping possession more. In the beginning of the season he only wanted to score goals and now he is contributing in way more ways than just finishing."

Sacramento Republic did well to keep the pressure on, tallying an additional two goals before the halftime whistle, in the 17th and 40th minutes.

In the 17th minute, Marco Valdez used his size and skill to send a brilliantly measured header just over the Oakwood Soccer Club keeper, who was caught a few steps off his line. The soft touch and flicked on header marked the defender's third goal of the season.

Twenty-three minutes later, Carrasco would notch his 44th goal of the U-14 Academy season, a feat obtained in just 30 games. With both teams temporarily down to 10 men due to injury, Sacramento Republic midfielder Mason Pahule sent in an abrupt, long throw into the box, catching the defenders off-guard, allowing Carrasco to slip the ball through the legs of the keeper. It was his sixth goal in the last two and a half games.

After the halftime reset, the game turned into a much more even deadlock in the second half.

With just five minutes left to play in the second half, Sacramento Republic countered off an Oakwood Soccer Club corner kick to cap the scoring. On the break, after a streaking Erik Centeno beat his man down the right flank to create his own chance at goal, only to leave an open net for Dominic Vegaalban to tap in the rebound.

After the game, Varas praised his team's performance:

"I thought the first half was good, the boys found solutions. I don't know if it was travel or nerves, but the second half dipped, maybe a little fatigue from having so many nerves. It was the first game, everybody was excited that it we were playing in the feature game. The first half was very, very nice, the second half the speed of play and the speed of thought slowed down quite a bit. Credit to Oakwood, we knew they would because they were down 3-0, they started pressing us a little bit more. Just transferring over from having tons of time to having a little less time, I don't think we adjusted well to that."

Sacramento will finish up their Summer Showcase campaign with games against FC Dallas and Vardar, while Oakwood Soccer Club will look to bounce back against Seattle Sounders and Albion SC.