The Republic currently sit at 4th in the Western Conference. Now from that statement you may be led to believe that the season is off to a good start, but myself and others beg to differ.
The USL Regular Season is about a third of the way through already, the Republic have played 11 matches and have 21 remaining. In those 11 matches the team has taken just 14 points from the 33 available. That’s an average of of just over a single point per match.
The Republic, despite sitting in forth place, are 15 points away from first place San Antonio FC, who have scored 17 more goals than they have conceded.
I spoke earlier in the season about Sacramento having their best start to a season, with how scoring was a key part of that. However, Republic has now allowed exactly as many goals as they have scored, bringing the team’s goal differential to zero.
The Republic still have 21 matches to play this season with 63 points available and they must capitalize on those opportunities.
If Sacramento are to make the playoffs, every point available is important. Settling for a draw, especially at home, is not an option and neither are the continuing losses.
If they continue averaging just a point per game, the playoffs are certainly not in the clubs future. Just over a point per game would end Sacramento’s season with 35 to 40 points.
Since Republic entered the league in 2014, no club has qualified for the playoffs with 35 or fewer points. Harrisburg qualified in 2014 with 37 points , but that is the only time since the conference format was introduced in 2015 that a club has qualified with less than 40 points.
Sacramento have qualified for the playoffs in every season since entering the league; they have also finished in the top four in each of those seasons.
The club have to resolve some of the issues that have led to points being dropped. Deciding on a definitive starting goalkeeper would be a start, as our own William Hodges looked at earlier this week.
Sacramento is known for coming from behind and making the comeback, most notably in 2014 when they came back to win the championship. We saw it in 2015 when they were off to a rough start and came back to make the playoffs. Finally, we saw it in 2016 when they came back to end the season atop the Western Conference.
This team has the ability to come back from this lackluster first third of the season and finish strong. The only question now is whether or not it will happen.
What do you think must change for Sacramento to make the playoffs? Do you think they will be fine and just need to find their rhythm? Let us know in the comments!