Over the last three weeks, the staff at ICS have been taking turns to provide you with our thoughts on how the Sacramento Republic FC depth chart shakes out at every position on the field, starting at the back with the goalkeepers and moving forward to the strikers.
In addition to putting our thoughts down, we also provided you, the ICS readers, a chance to give us your opinion through polls and comments. Now that all the positions have been covered and the polls have been closed, it is now time to review the definitive ICS version of the Sacramento Republic FC depth chart, starting from front to back this time.
The four strikers that were considered for the Republic depth chart up top were: Thommy Stewart, Harry Williams, Mackenzie Pridham, and Cameron Iwasa. Here's how the poll turned out.
Although Jeff made Stewart his top pick, the poll gave the edge to the newcomer, Mackenzie Pridham. With a fanbase that was starved for goals at the end of last season, it is not entirely surprising for the player who scored in the Republic's most high-profile preseason game took a narrow majority.
The wide midfield position is less solidly defined than others, and only time will tell if some of the players listed here will be used on the wings or in central midfield. The players up for consideration were Max Alvarez, Danny Barrera, Joaquin Rivas, Octavio Guzman, and Agustin Cazarez.
Given his success in the 2014 season and the fact that he is the only natural winger on the team, it is not surprising that Alvarez came out on top in the poll. It seems likely from what we have seen in preseason that he will be a starter this year, and if this is any indication, the fans wouldn't have it any other way. The question of the who should go on the opposite wing is a bit murkier, with Barrera and Guzman both getting similar vote totals.
As possibly the deepest position on the Republic roster, center midfield is always a point of interest and a point of debate. There is a lot of talented players in this spot, but also some versatility, since some of the natural center midfielders might be seeing more time on the wing. The players for consideration here were: Ivan Mirković, Octavio Guzman, Danny Barrera, Agustin Cazarez, and Matt LaGrassa.
Although the margin between them is close, Guzman just edged out Mirković in this poll. What this illustrates more than anything, though, is that the Mirković - Guzman tandem, which we have seen quite a bit of over the last two seasons, is a favorite of Republic fans.
Although fullback is the spot on the roster with possibly the least depth, it is also the one with some of the most talent on the team. Both starting fullbacks, Emrah Klimenta and James Kiffe, were members of the 2014 championship winning squad and have proven to be great players. The two of them, along with backup left back Cazarez, were the three players for consideration.
Although both Klimenta and Kiffe are talented players, and among the best on the squad, it appears in this poll that Klimenta has the edge. This is not completely surprising, as Klimenta is both a fan-favorite and one of the better fullbacks I have ever seen in person.
The departure of Mickey Daly and Nemanja Vuković in the offseason has made the center back spot one of interest, with newcomers Chris Christian and Mike da Fonte coming in as replacements for the two Republic originals. Along with 2015 backup Derek Foran, Christian and da Fonte made up the three players eligible for the center back tandems in the poll.
Despite them coming in only this preseason, Christian and da Fonte seem to have made a strong impression on Republic fans early on. While it remains to be seen how they will fare over the course of the season, at the moment the two newcomers seem to be the preferred pair among ICS readers.
With the departure of Patrick McLain for the Chicago Fire, the battle for the top spot between the pipes is between new arrival and former USL Goalkeeper of the Year Evan Newton and long-time Republic backup Dominik Jakubek.
What's that? There wasn't a poll for this one, you say? Well that's strange. I'm sure there's a logical explanation for it.
For the time being, though, it seems as though Newton is the top choice, based off both his former success at OKC and the fact that he started in the more difficult preseason friendlies.
Full Starting XI
With the votes for each position tallied, here is the starting XI as dictated by the poll results.
Do you agree or disagree with the results of the poll or the opinions of our staff on how the Republic depth chart shakes out? Let us know in the comments.