Today's Sacramento Republic friendly is the first of the year that is truly an away game. While all the others so far have been at Bonney Field or on the campus of Sacramento State, today the team is headed down to Santa Rosa High School to take on the Sonoma County Sol.
This will be the second time that the Republic and the Sol have met on the field, the first having taken place during the second round of last year's US Open Cup tournament.
That day, May 20, was basically 90 minutes of the Tommy Stewart show. The Northern Irish striker was just a terror for Sonoma County on the day, finishing the match with a hat trick and a solid case for an assist as well.
He opened the scoring early with a goal in the ninth minute, using his poacher's instincts to pounce on a rebound from an Emrah Klimenta to put Sacramento in the lead.
He was also heavily involved in the Republic's second goal just three minutes later, serving in a ball to Gabe Gonzalez that led to a blocked show and yet another goal off of a rebound.
Stewart struck again late in the first half, taking advantage of some poor play from a Sonoma County defender to coolly widen the Republic lead to 3-1 going into the locker room.
He then finished his hat trick in the 60th minute off a nice assist from then-rookie Cameron Iwasa.
Check out the highlights of that game yourself right here:
With Stewart healthy and looking like one of Paul Buckle's preferred starters, it seems likely that he'll be making at least a 45 minute appearance against the Sol today. While a repeat of his performance last year would be difficult, it would absolutely be welcomed.
When Stewart is on form, he is one of the better goalscorers that the Republic have ever had. An in-form Stewart combined with what could be a more effective striking force of Pridham and Williams would be music to the ears of Republic fans that were treated to an anemic offense at the end of last season.