Sacramento Republic FC embark on a five game road trip which starts this Sunday against Orange County Blues FC at Anteater Stadium in Irvine. The Republic look to even up the series after losing 0-1 at Bonney Field on April 30th. The Blues currently sit at eighth place in the Western Conference standings after coming off a 1-2 loss against Southern California rivals LA Galaxy II.
The Republic are coming off their worst league loss of the season this past Wednesday against Real Monarchs SLC. Clinging to a 2-0 lead in the second half, the Republic allowed three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes to fall 3-2 and end their nine-game unbeaten streak. Today’s match will be the second of four meetings between the two California clubs this season. The Republic will look to gain their first victory against the Blues since the 2014 season.
The Republic will need to focus on the following keys to success to get back to their winning ways.
Forget About the Last Match
The Republic have not given up that many goals (3) in league play at home since the 0-4 drubbing by the LA Galaxy II last season. The Republic players seemed to lose some of their aggressiveness after the Monarchs got the equalizing goal. I’m not sure if the late defensive subs from Coach Paul Buckle contributed to a less-attacking style of play, but the Republic definitely laid an egg late in the match.
The Republic will need to focus on the road ahead and not dwell on the past match. It will be interesting to see how this young core of players will rebound and deal with such a disappointing loss. The Republic were on an incredible run of nine games unbeaten and will have hopefully learned to not let up and continue to pressure teams.
Find a Solution on Defense
Unfortunately for the Republic, the defense broke down late in the last match and let the Monarchs take control. Missing was Republic veteran Emrah Klimenta, due to an ACL injury, and Chris Christian, on suspension from yellow card accumulation.
Christian will be available for today’s match and it will be interesting to see who he is paired with. My guess will be Mike da Fonte who has scored a goal in each of the last two matches. The more interesting question is who will fill in for Klimenta? Kip Colvey, on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes, did a serviceable job at right-back, but all three SLC goals came from his side of the pitch. The injury to Klimenta has definitely hurt the Republic, and hopefully Paul Buckle can find a solution.
Continue to Distribute the Scoring
The Republic seem to be taking the team approach to scoring this season. 10 different players have scored, and new players seem to be stepping up each week. The past two weeks Mike da Fonte has been a great target on set pieces especially when paired with Adam Jahn. That pairing gives defenses nightmares on who to mark.
The Republic have been good about distributing the ball this season and will need to find multiple targets in the box to help with scoring. Without a focal point for goals, like Rodrigo Lopez was the past two years, Buckle has allowed multiple players get involved, which has recently helped increase goals scored.
Please let us know what you think are the keys to success this week, in the comments below.