Sacramento Republic FC will play back-to-back games against the Real Monarchs SLC, beginning Wednesday at Bonney Field and concluding this Saturday at Greater Nevada Field in Reno, NV. The Republic have a chance to gain six points this week against a team that has given up 15 goals this season.
The Republic need to focus on the following keys to success to get past Real Monarchs SLC:
Avoid Critical Mistakes
Despite recently improved offensive production, critical mistakes have cost the Republic points. This past Saturday against LA Galaxy II, defender Derek Foran made the latest costly mistake, as he lost possession near the Republic goal and gave the Galaxy II a 2-1 lead. The Republic were able to fight back and equalize with a goal from Daniel Trickett-Smith, but lost out on two points and a chance to climb the Western Conference table.
Well I don't think there was holes [in the defense]. I think I saw Derek Foran gift them the ball again. Like I saw Mike da Fonte do. Like I've seen Chris [Christian] do. Like I've seen Derek do in Portland. So individual error is one of the toughest things to stamp out because, again, tonight that's a game we should've won.
The center backs need to be aware of the situation and know when to get rid of the ball. The Republic cannot afford to have lapses in judgement and give up easy goals. Buckle said that the Republic "didn't do the basics" and I'm sure practice this week has had a heavy focus on the fundamentals.
Continue the Crosses
James Kiffe and Emrah Klimenta each had an assist last week with wonderful crosses that found their marks. The Republic have not been successful this season with crosses due to a lack of players attacking the box. It was great to see Danny Barrera, the smallest player on the pitch, find space and convert the header from Klimenta's high cross.
The midfield will need to pack the penalty box more often to give Kiffe and Klimenta a target. Too often this season, high crosses have been met by just one attacking player covered by multiple defenders. On Klimenta's assist, three Republic players were in the six-yard box waiting for the ball. The same was also true for Kiffe's cross which found Daniel Trickett-Smith for the equalizer.
Contain Ricardo Velazco
Forward Ricardo Velazco is the top scorer and assist leader for Real Monarchs this season with five goals and three assists. Velazco has had two multiple goal games, including scoring two against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2. The Republic defense cannot be careless with a player of Velazco's ability and must track him in the box. It will be interesting to see if Derek Foran can recover from last week and lock down Velazco.
Please let us know what you think are the keys to success this week in the comments below.