Sacramento Republic FC get ready to take on MLS side Colorado Rapids for the first pre-season match of 2016. This will be the first meeting between the two first teams, but it will not be the first time the Republic have faced a Rapids team. To get ready for tonight's game, we took a look back to the 2014 season to recap the meeting between the Republic and the Colorado Rapids Reserve team.
It was a hot summer day on June 20, 2014, as the Republic hosted the Colorado Rapids Reserves in the first ever game at Bonney Field. After three games at Hughes stadium and a long road trip, the Republic finally settled into their home field. The sellout crowd witnessed two goals by then-Sacramento midfielder Rodrigo Lopez as the Republic pulled away with a 4-3 victory in one of the most exciting matches of the 2014 season.
The scoring started early as Danny Mwanga slotted one past former Republic goalkeeper Jake Gleeson in the 15th minute for the Rapids Reserves team. The Republic answered back with an assist by Lopez and a header by forward Justin Braun in the 20th minute. Lopez put the Republic up 3-1 with back-to-back goals in the 39th and 42nd minutes.
The second half saw the Rapids Reserves even up the match with goals from Gabriel Torres and Charles Eloundo in the 50th and 54th minutes. With a visibly angry coach Preki on the sidelines, the game opened up with more shots on goal for both teams. Substitute Mike Fucito, on loan from San Jose, squeaked in the game-winning shot in the 84th minute.
The Republic have a different look today as only three players from the 2014 match (Emrah Klimenta, Max Alverez, and Octavio Guzman) remain on the squad. The Rapids could possibly have three players (John Bermer, Marlon Hariston and Jared Watts) returning to Bonney who have graduated up from the reserve team.
Today’s match will feature new players for the Republic. Midfielder Matt LaGrassa, goalkeeper Evan Newton and defenders Chris Christian and Mike da Fonte should make their debut. It will be difficult to see a match without Lopez and Braun, but we can only hope that today’s game will be as exciting.