Any team at every level of the game is capable of winning. Form comes and goes, goals can dry up or materialize by the bucket load, but there’s only one sort of consistency that matters. Positive results. Step forward Republic FC.
For some, the Western Conference standings at this early stage of the season mean little, but when it’s your team that’s parked at the top, it’s a different story. The fact that Republic lead the way in the west after nine games, having won five, tied three and only lost one, (arguably without putting in the kind of 90-minute dominant performances you might expect from league leaders), can only be encouraging.
A team that win when they play well is one thing, but to be successful, teams need to find a way to pick up points when games don’t go to plan. Finding a way means getting that last-minute equalizer, coming from behind, winning a penalty kick, scrapping for second balls, and of course taking your chances when they come your way.
The signs were there against Sounders 2 of a team beginning to gel with some spells of nice play interrupted by a few lapses of concentration. With a high turnover of players for the 2018 campaign, those lapses of concentration have been a feature at times this season and have, by and large, resulted in punishment for Republic’s defense.
But more often than not, the indomitable spirit instilled by coach Elliott has resulted in points gained rather than dropped with Republic coming from behind to earn six from losing positions so far. While the victory in Tacoma secured top spot in the west, it was also the Quails first chance to show they can bounce back from defeat, a test passed thanks to two cultured finishes courtesy of Mitchell Taintor and Villyan Bijev (with a little assistance from unlucky Sounders 2 keeper Bryan Meredith), rounding off a very decent away performance.
The next test facing Republic is to capitalize on the effort from the opening nine games and continue with winning ways at Papa Murphy’s Park this weekend when they take on Reno 1868 FC. While 18 points from a possible 27 is a solid return at this stage, you can’t help but feel we’ve yet to see the best from this group of players. Considering their points tally has them above all others, it’s not a bad foundation to build from.
They have so far, with one exception, walked away with something from all of their games and at times when it looks unlikely they find a way of finding a way. Tough games are fast approaching, and Saturday’s bout with Reno will be the last at home until June 2 when Orange County visit.
Between now and then, games on the road against Phoenix Rising and Real Monarchs will prove to be the measure of where Sacramento Republic FC are right now, but in the meantime the club can be satisfied with the ride so far, without taking the foot of the gas of course.