Sacramento Republic FC (3-2-0) return home after earning a 1-1 draw (and point) on the road last Saturday night versus Las Vegas Lights FC, and welcome in the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (3-0-3), who are fresh off a 4-0 thrashing of Reno 1868 on the road and winners of two in-a-row.
If Republic FC can scratch out another win, the three points will give them 14, which will push them to the top of the Western Conference table.
To get you ready for tomorrow, below are three keys to the match:
- You have to believe that manager Simon Elliott will mix up the starting XI given the short turnaround from the last game. He’s certainly got plenty of quality options on the bench. Do we finally see Jure Matjašič make his Republic FC debut? Does Luis Espino get a start? It seems crazy to think about managing minutes this early in the season, but as Elliott pointed out last week in our Extra Time with Elliott interview, “not everyone can be expected to play every single game when we’re playing two and three times a week.” I would expect some new faces tomorrow in the XI, and assuming so, how will it impact the result?
- The closest we’ve seen the Republic play a full 90 minutes was in their home-opener win against San Antonio FC, where they played solid for about 75 minutes. Understanding that it’s only been five games and the team is still coming together, it would be nice to see the Republic play a complete game. The reality is they will need to be sharp if they want to knock off a surging Switchbacks side that has only given up four goals this season (tied for third-fewest in USL) through five matches.
- In Saturday’s win over Reno 1868, Luke Vercollone recorded an assist in the first half and scored a goal in the second half, which also happens to be up for USL Goal of the Week. Vercollone is a solid veteran that the Republic will need to keep a close eye on. Republic will also need to deal with the combination of left back Josh Suggs and right back Jordan Burt, who have proved to be a dangerous two-way combination so far this season. Forward Aj Ajeakwa (co-team leader in goals with Burt), will also be a handful up top.
I see a tight game in store tomorrow night. All of the Switchbacks losses have come against quality teams, and as I mentioned earlier, they’ve only given up four goals. That said, I am predicting that Republic comes out on top 1-0.