With the departure of Patrick McClain, the 2015 starting goalkeeper who started 24 of 28 games for the Republic in 2015, to the MLS side Chicago Fire, the Sacramento Republic depth chart has been shaken up this offseason. So with last season's first choice keeper gone, the big question now is who takes over that number one spot.
1. Evan Newton. The answer to that question came with the surprise signing of 27 year old former Oklahoma City Energy keeper, Evan Newton. I've compared Newton's 2015 numbers to McLain's before, and found that he looks to be an upgrade at the position. In the 2015 season for the Energy, Newton started 27 games and was one of the three nominations for the 2015 USL Goalkeeper of the Year. As the only keeper from the Western Conference who was up for that award, calling him the best keeper out west last year is not a stretch.
2. Dominik Jakubek. Next up on the depth chart for the Republic is the serviceable veteran backup Dominik Jakubek. In 2015 Jakubek took the field as a starter four times, while in the 2014 inaugural season he started twelve times. By percentage, he is actually the second winningest Republic keeper of all time with a 8-5-3 record and a 50% win rate as a starter, one that trails only Jake Gleeson's 68% win rate. If Jakubek, who has been on recent injury reports with a neck strain, can stay healthy, he is a great backup that can serve both as a mentor and as a capable replacement.
3. (Trialist) Alex Mangels. If both Newton and Jakubek are unable to play, the next on the depth chart appears to be Alex Mangels, the Cal Golden Bears graduate who has appeared as a trialist for Sacramento over the preseason. Mangels started 18 games in his collegiate career, allowing 1.60 goals per game, including a 2015 campaign where he allowed only 1.10 goals per game in his 10 starts. I would like to see him get some real game experience in the preseason to see if he can potentially be brought in as a safety net, but if not he may still have a future in the league.
Update: Mangels signed with Tulsa Roughnecks FC on February 26.
Keeper, especially if Jakubek can return to full health, is one of the Republic's greatest strengths. Newton is an elite keeper at the USL level, and Jakubek would likely be the starter on some USL teams. Even the potential third string keeper Mangels appears to have potential. While I would be thrilled to have Newton start all 30 games this season, the depth here is greatly appreciated, as anything can happen.