Sacramento Republic FC have a chance to make it two wins in a row tonight as they return to the familiar confines of Bonney Field to host Seattle Sounders 2. The last time these two teams met was the season opener in Tukwila, which the Republic won 1-0 on a Thommy Stewart penalty. The Republic are looking to get the same outcome in tonight's match, albeit hopefully with some more goals.
Here are some talking points going into tonight's match.
Got them loans
It looks very likely that the Republic will have the services of San Jose Earthquakes players Tommy Thompson and Adam Jahn available for tonight's match, seeing as both players trained in Sacramento with the team on Thursday and Friday. After all, the Earthquakes don't have a game this weekend, so they might as well come up to Sacramento to try and get some minutes.
Although there is an argument to be made that short term loans are detrimental in the long run, having players as talented as Thompson and Jahn are definitely positives for the Republic tonight. Thompson alone has the talent to be a complete game-changer at the USL level and Jahn's hold-up play, aerial prowess, and passing ability could be a help to break through an S2 team that will surely be sitting back and defending.
We've had one yes, but what about second multi-goal game?
Last week's win against LA Galaxy II was the first time that the Republic had scored more than a single goal in nine competitive games stretching back into last season. So not only was it a breath of fresh air because the record setting losing streak skid to a halt, it was an exciting win because we actually saw some fairly good goal production.
I don't know about you, but I want some more of that.
Of course, we can't rely on brilliant Emrah Klimenta free kicks for consistent goals --although it certainly would not go unappreciated. And at home the Republic is usually the team having to fend off the type of counter attack that led to Harry Williams's goal rather than make them. However, the team can still create chances and can still score goals.
Whether or not they do remains to be seen. Despite last week's performance, this is still a fairly low scoring offense and it will take more than one multi-goal game to prove otherwise. A match at home against a floundering S2 team might be just what the Republic offense needs to build on the head of steam they started last week in LA.
ICS contributor George Shiel said it well when in his Keys to Success: score early, score often.
The real MVP
Thankfully the Republic's season has not seen too many injuries to key on-the-field players. The staff, however, have not been so lucky.
#SACvSEA Injury Report: Media Relations Coordinator @eddieralph will be sidelined due to high left ankle sprain. pic.twitter.com/GGjjLBYRg3— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) May 13, 2016
While this sort of injury might be a setback to some USL teams, it is not the case for the Republic.
@KyleJKepner @eabjork @josh_beeman @SacRepublicFC Don't worry I will fight through injury and get it done tomorrow.— Eddie Ralph (@eddieralph) May 13, 2016
Regardless of the outcome of the game, the real MVP of the night will be on the sidelines.
But seriously this needs to be a win
Usually the term "must-win game" is thrown around because there are playoff spots or seeding on the line. In this case I'm using it because the Republic are coming off a difficult early slump and now have a small bit of momentum built up. The result of tonight's match can either build that momentum further with a strong performance and three points, or it can kill that momentum before it really gets rolling with yet another 1-0 loss at home.
S2 are currently in last place with only one win and a goal differential of -6. While trap games are a thing and the Republic should be wary of underestimating their opponents, this game should absolutely be a win for the home team. Not only that, but it should be a decisive win.
Here is a possible starting XI that we might see for the Republic in tonight's match.
Although there is a strong argument to be made for sticking with the same lineup after last week's win, the past has shown that in general that Quakes loans start when they roll into town. Add in the fact that Thompson and Jahn have been training with the team and are not just driving in for the night, and it seems likely that they'll be starting.
The big casualty in the event that we see this XI is Harry Williams. The Prince of Quails has been impressive in the two matches he has appeared in this season and even got on the scoresheet for the first time this year last weekend. Without Jahn being in town he would be a definite starter, if only to see how the Stewart-Williams strike partnership can develop. With Jahn in town things become less clear cut. Personally, I would like to see Williams get the start.
What are your thoughts coming into tonight's match? Any predictions of your own? Sound off in the comments below.