We’ve been on quite the goalkeeper carousel haven’t we, Sacramento Republic FC fans? If you look at games played in just May, Evan Newton started the first two and Dominik Jakubek started the last three. It’s got to be a difficult decision for Manager Paul Buckle to decide who to pencil in each game given their contrast in style of play.
On one hand, Jakubek is fiery (in a good way), vocal, and not afraid to take chances (sometimes not good). Newton on the other hand is calmer, perhaps a little more conservative.
While both players are more than capable to be the everyday goalkeeper, I have held the view for some time now that the Republic would be best served with Evan Newton as that person. There, I said it. Throw something at me.
This is no way to slight Jakubek. I am a huge fan of Jakubek the player and person, and believe that he has been tremendous during his time with the Republic. From my vantage point, he has been a great teammate and consummate professional. He’s pleasant and accommodating to all, which is why he’s so incredibly popular with his teammates and fans.
Jakubek can still play an important role with this team both in terms of spot starts and being that vocal leader in the clubhouse. But I just feel that in order for the Republic to make a deep run this season, they need some clarity at the position and need to go with the player that in my opinion is more fundamentally sound and more risk-averse on the pitch.
The Republic brought in Newton in 2016 to be their everyday keeper. Why would anyone think differently? He was coming off a banner year in 2015 where he posted 10 shutouts, averaged 1.22 goals against per game (fourth best in the Western Conference) and was a USL Goalkeeper of the Year Finalist. Last year in 20 appearances, Newton’s 0.93 goals against per game ranked him in the top 10 of all USL goalkeepers.
Looking at this season, I think Newton has put in his finest work particularly during the stretch of six games where the Republic did not score. If you look back at those scores, it was Newton who often kept his team in many of those games by making outstanding saves. Why am I telling you all this? Simple, the man has earned the job in my eyes. He just now needs the confidence of knowing that he’s going to be the everyday keeper moving forward.
“It can be a bit difficult not knowing [when you’re going to play] especially as a goalkeeper because you get into a groove, and I feel like I’m playing really well right now,” said Evan Newton. “I’ve been playing super consistent and it can be frustrating, but you do what you got to do. It’s part of the game and job.”
Will Newton get the start in tonight’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match versus Reno 1868 FC at Papa Murphy’s Park? I’m going to say he does and holds on to the shirt from here on out.
That said, what Republic Manager Paul Buckle ultimately decides to do is anyone’s guess. It’s not an easy decision to make because you could argue that the platoon has worked quite well. Whatever Buckle decides to do though, Newton is clearly up for the challenge.
“I love the big moments,” added Newton. “Unfortunately last season with the penalty kicks, I wasn’t able to do anything, but for the most part when the pressure is on, I love that. I pride myself in being clean and coming up with the big save for the team, and hopefully I can come up with more the rest of the season.”
Who would you like to see in goal for the Republic? Leave your comments below!