By Jeremy Reid

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (June 22, 2018) - Travian Sousa scored a pair of goals as Sacramento Republic FC earned a 2-0 victory over San Diego Surf on Thursday afternoon in the day's second feature game at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-16/17 Playoffs.

"I'm happy with the fight," said Sacramento Republic FC coach Jordan Ferrell. "We turned over way too many balls, it could have been a lot cleaner but we knew going into this game that (San Diego Surf) would be compact. They battled and created chances on the counter."

The best chance of an otherwise cagey opening 30 minutes between the two California-based clubs fell to Sacramento in the eighth minute as Erik Centeno whipped a cross in from the right side toward Nate Carrasco. The center forward's header was tipped over the bar by Surf goalkeeper Collin Travasos to keep the game scoreless.

Sousa netted the opening goal in the 37th minute to spring Sacramento to life. Hunter George created a turnover in the center circle and started the attack, going on a run through the midfield before laying a ball into the path of Sousa, who fired a shot toward goal. Travasos got a piece of the shot, but not enough as it crossed the line for the first goal of the contest.

Early in the second half, Sacramento once again got off on the front foot. Less than five minutes into the half, Genaro Alfaro Jr., moved past a defender, cut in from the left side and fired a shot that was tipped around the post by Travasos. Less than a minute later, the Surf goalkeeper was called into action again as he tipped a Sacramento Republic FC chance over the bar.

The hometown side's best chance of the second half came in the 58th minute, as Angel Flores earned a free kick 25 yards from goal. Bryan Delgado stepped up and fired the shot harmlessly over the bar as Sacramento maintained its one-goal advantage.

Sousa put the game out of reach with his second goal of the contest in the 75th minute. Alfaro Jr., started buildup for Sacramento Republic FC, playing Carrasco who fed George. The final ball from George found a streaking Sousa who whistled a shot past Travasos to double the lead.

"I'm happy for him," Ferrell said of Sousa. "He has been in that position a couple of times and hasn't always finished, so it was good. I think the second one really relived the pressure in the game and allowed us to see out the end of it."

In the final quarter of an hour, Sacramento Republic FC continued to control possession. Its backline cleaned up any possible opportunities for San Diego as the Northern California side earned its second consecutive clean sheet.

Sacramento will finish the playoffs against Colorado Rapids while San Diego Surf will meet Crew SC Academy Wolves. Both matches will take place on Saturday, June 23 at 5:30 p.m.

"We know Colorado is the one seed and one versus two is always a good match, especially in this environment," said Ferrell. "There are always fireworks on the last day, so we are going to get back to the drawing board, get a good night of rest and get back on the horse on Saturday."