Sacramento Republic FC continue their long home-stand by welcoming USL rivals Los Angeles Galaxy II to Bonney Field this Saturday. After their shocking loss in the 3rd round of the U.S. Open Cup to the Kitsap Pumas of the PDL this past Wednesday, the Republic look to get back on track in league play.
The Republic were in the midst of a 3 game losing streak the last time they played the Galaxy II on May 7th. Earning a 2-0 victory on the road and ending their 4 game scoring drought in the process, the match was perhaps the Republic's best performance in USL play this season. The Republic need to focus on the following keys to success to get the bad taste of Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup loss out of their mouths:
Bring Back the Starters on Defense
The one thing the Galaxy II excel at is scoring. Los Dos lead the USL in goals scored with 25 and have the league's leading scorer in Jack McBean, who has scored 5 goals in the past 4 matches. The Republic will need to continue their lock down defense that has been on display during league play if they wish to slow down Los Dos.
The Republic's defense has been stellar, only allowing 4 goals in 9 league matches this season. By contrast, the Republic have given up more goals (6) in the last 3 non-league matches, the main difference being line-up changes and giving the starters some rest for the non-league matches. The Republic will need to start James Kiffe, Derek Foran, Chris Christian and Emrah Klimenta to slow down the Galaxy II attack.
Start the Young Ones
The Republic's best chances for scoring have occurred when Cameron Iwasa, Harry Williams and Daniel Trickett-Smith are on the field. Cameron Iwasa has cemented himself as a starting forward and the Republic's leading scorer. Iwasa has been able to find the goal the past two matches and works well with Harry Williams up top.
Harry Williams has the ability to get deep into an opponents defense and create chances for scoring, as was evident the last time the Republic played Los Dos.
Trickett-Smith brings an element to the Republic midfield that hasn't been seen since Rodrigo Lopez donned Old Glory Red. His foot skills and energy are obvious, but he is also an excellent striker of free kicks.
With the midfield struggling to produce, the forwards will need to create their own chances. Iwasa and Williams certainly have the tools to produce some goals and I'd like to see them work together more often.
Midfield Needs to Step Up
Arguably one of the most frustrating elements of the Republic this season has been the play of the midfield. Since Lopez left this year, the midfield has struggled to produce. The only midfielder to score in league play has been Tommy Thompson, who has only played in 3 matches with the Republic this season.
JJ Koval has been injured the past few matches and he has been missed on the defensive end. Octavio Guzman, who has been played mostly in wide midfield roles, would likely do well if he is moved to the middle where he seems more comfortable. The problems of the midfield have hindered the attack and will need to be remedied if the Republic want to succeed this season.
Are there other keys to success that the Republic must focus on for a victory? Let us know in the comments below.