This isn't an article about MLS expansion. We can talk about that another day. I did however hear an opinion on the subject that gave me pause, and the fans of Sacramento Republic ought to know about it, because it has merit.
Following a discussion about the recent record crowd in Cincinnati and equally impressive average attendance over three games, hosts of USL Radio Duane Rollins and Kevin Laramée explored the possibility that Cincinnati could overtake Sacramento's place in the MLS expansion pecking order. The hosts were not in any way lobbying for it, and indeed Rollins mentioned his desire to see the Republic in MLS. I don't personally think Cincinnati can jump Sacramento, but it got me thinking nonetheless.
The first few weeks of FC Cincinnati's inaugural season should look familiar to Republic fans: 20,000 people in a college football stadium, hungry for something big, something to call their own. Those days at Hughes Stadium, just two years ago, were big in starting the MLS conversation for Sacramento, and with all the progress the Republic has made, it is clear today that things can turn on a dime.
One of the "check boxes" for Garber and company - when it comes to markets not called Miami, Los Angeles, and New York - is exactly this sort of large, engaged, loyal support. Republic fans in two years have not faltered, not one bit. But times are harder now. The product on the field is facing adversity. It's early days, sure, but in Sacramento, like in any city, the possibility exists that come September this will not have been a successful season.
Will you, the fans, still be coming to Bonney every week? Will you still profess your love of the club at home and in public? Will you prove that you'll stick with them through thick and thin? I think the answer is definitely yes, and it must be. It must because your engaged support is not only a signal to MLS of your readiness to make the jump before any other market, it also tells your club that no matter the league, you want them in town for the long haul, and I know you do.
So stay the course, Sacramento. You're doing great.