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Sacramento Republic FC 2016 USL Season Preview

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Star player departures, young replacements, and the first full season of the Paul Buckle Era. We're previewing Sacramento Republic's 2016 USL season.

Photo Credit: Sacramento Republic FC/Douglas Taylor

Year Founded: Late 2012

Affiliation: San Jose Earthquakes

2015 Record, standing in conference: 13-8-7; fourth in the USL West

Playoffs: Eliminated in the first round by LA Galaxy II

Key Additions: Evan Newton, Mackenzie Pridham, Chris Christian

Key Departures: Rodrigo Lopez, Nemanja Vuković, Mickey Daly

Projected/Ideal Starting XI (4-4-1-1): Evan Newton; James Kiffe, Chris Christian, Mike da Fonte, Emrah Klimenta; Danny Barrera, Ivan Mirković, Octavio Guzman; Max Alvarez; Mackenzie Pridham; Thomas Stewart

Team Overview:

This year's Sac Republic team is significantly different from the one that was in place at this time last year. In addition to the sudden departure of Preki - who was replaced by Paul Buckle, the Republic have lost a number of star players in the offseason. Justin Braun, Gabe Gissie, Nemanja Vuković, Mickey Daly, and Rodrigo Lopez were all important pieces of the Republic's identity and in the space of just a few months they were all gone, leaving the team with a still talented, but deeply depleted roster.

To replace those losses, Buckle and Director of Football Graham Smith have turned largely to youth, bringing in a number of young players to fill out the team's roster.

Why should you watch in 2016?

The 2016 season promises to be an entertaining one. Coach Buckle has promised that his team will play an attacking, yet balanced, style and there is certainly goal scoring potential on the roster. Off the field, the largest supporter's group in the USL, the Tower Bridge Battalion, always bring the noise and make each game's atmosphere exciting.

3 Players to Watch

Danny Barrera: One of the most skillful midfielders on the roster, Barrera will provide some of the offensive spark this year. His vision, technical ability, and clever passing will need to be big parts of the Republic's success this year.

Thomas Stewart: Stewart will be the forward on whom the majority of the scoring burden will rest this year. In 2014 he led the team in league goals scored and he'll need to put up similar numbers if the Republic are to be successful.

Emrah Klimenta: The ever present Klimenta is as entertaining and skillful a right back as you'll see at this level. He's got the speed, quick feet, and instincts to be a threat going forward and the defensive capability to be strong on defense.

2016 Will be a Success if... Paul Buckle and the Republic are able to overcome the difficulties of the departed stars and get back to the playoffs. A third consecutive appearance in the USL Playoffs is the minimum goal for this team, and it will depend both on how well Buckle has replaced the departed stars, how well the returning players step up to the challenge of the new season, and how well the new additions gel with the team.

Relevant Links:

Official Twitter: @SacRepublicFC

Official Site: sacrepublicfc.com

Complete Sac Republic depth chart as voted by ICS readers

Republic sign Chase Minter, complete Cal Poly trio.

2016 Republic Schedule