Sacramento Republic journey to the Great White North for the second time this season to face Vancouver Whitecaps 2 at UBC Thunderbird Stadium tomorrow. This will be the second time the two teams have faced one another, with the third and final contest coming late next month at Bonney Field.
Last Time Out
The last time that the Republic faced Whitecaps 2, it was the third match of the season and during the dark days of April. The team was riding a pair of shaky 1-0 wins over Seattle Sounders 2 and Arizona United SC when they last ventured to UBC Thunderbird Stadium. While the scoreless draw was not necessarily a bad result, it was an ugly and frustrating game to watch, with little in the way of quality scoring opportunities for most of the game and a disallowed goal for each side.
The most memorable moment of the match actually came after the final whistle had been blown courtesy of Republic goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek’s René Higuita-esque scorpion kick save.
Setting the Table
On paper, the home team has the advantage in tomorrow’s matchup. Whitecaps 2 are currently at the top of the Western Conference table, though they are tied with LA Galaxy II. They are also fourth in our most recent USL Western Conference Power Rankings. However, the on-paper advantage is only a slight one. The Republic are in fourth place in the table, only three points away from Whitecaps 2, and sixth in the Power Rankings.
Both teams are also coming into tomorrow’s match with less than ideal recent records. The Republic, as we all know, are winless in their last three matches with two losses and a draw. Whitecaps 2 have one win and two losses in their last three, but the two losses both came last week and saw them outscored 6-0. Both the home and away sides will be looking to rebound and get a good run going tomorrow.
The Road Goes Ever On
Tomorrow’s match is the third in a huge streak of five road games, the longest that the Republic has had since the very beginning of the inaugural 2014 season. While road games have not been particularly difficult for Paul Buckle’s Republic, with a record of five wins, three losses, and five ties over 13 games for an average of 1.54 points gained per game, playing away from home is always difficult.
The current set of road games that the Republic are on is particularly difficult because each of the teams, with the exception of the Orange County Blues, are in the top six of the Western Conference. There are no weak teams on this trip, which makes an already difficult set of games more challenging. It is crucial that the Republic get points out of this set of games, and with just one point in the first two, tomorrow’s game against Whitecaps 2 is even more important.
What are your thoughts on tomorrow’s game against Vancouver Whitecaps 2? Sound off in the comments below.