SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Cal Expo was electric on Friday night as the Sacramento Republic rang in the first game at their new home with a win.
The Republic gave up a 3-1 halftime lead to the Colorado Rapids Reserves, but tapped in a late goal for the 4-3 win.
The Tower Bridge Battalion was out in force for the team’s first game at Bonney Field. The team had been playing at Hughes Stadium where it sold out the facility more than twice the capacity of its new home.
Fans flooded through the gates easily selling out the Republic’s Friday night match.
“As soon as I walked in, the energy was incredible,” said fan Cody Kenngott.
In the final hours before game time, the construction crews were still installing handrails and putting the final bolts and screws into the $3 million stadium.
“We used some extra scaffolding in some of our tunnels,” said spokeswoman Erika Bjork. “Again, it was completely safe we’ve worked—and let’s put it this way, we are on a state property. it doesn’t get any safer than this.”
The team calls Bonney Field more intimate with about 12,000 fewer seats than Hughes Stadium. But the Republic are looking to build a permanent soccer stadium in Sacramento with a higher goal in mind.
“We said long ago, a goal is a dream with a deadline, and we’ve made a commitment,” she said. “We really want to be Major League Soccer by 2016.”
Courtney Morgan’s family frequents San Jose Earthquakes games and says the team’s affiliate in Sacramento is right on par.
“It’s kind of similar actually, with the whole cheer section and the drums,” she said. “It’s really fun, I think it’s pretty exciting.”
Season ticket holders like Kenngott couldn’t be happier to get right on tim of the action.
“These two first goals is the closest I’ve ever been to the soccer goals,” he said, “and it’s like instantly, I knew right away, this is where I want to be for the next few weeks. this is gonna be it.
Crews are working overnight to switch the field over for team USA’s rugby match against Canada on Saturday at 3 p.m.
The next Sacramento Republic home game is Thursday at 7:30 p.m.