Sacramento Republic FC announced yesterday that it had signed midfielder Ray Saari to a USL Championship contract for the 2019 season. The deal includes a team option for 2020 and is pending league and federation approval.
Saari most recently played for Seattle Sounders 2 (S2) where he appeared in 39 games and recorded four goals and six assists in two seasons. He also appeared in three games for MLS Seattle Sounders as part of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Saari was released by Sounders 2 on September 13, 2018 after battling a hamstring injury sustained in July.
Serving as the S2 captain, Saari has really been a player to watch over the last few seasons. He is known as a defensive midfielder that is good at clogging up the passing lanes and is a solid distributor of the ball. His arrival to Sacramento is huge in my opinion, and I am excited to see the impact he can have at the position and on the team.
Here is a couple of highlights of Saari that was pushed out by the Republic:
The Republic now have eight midfielders signed ahead of the 2019 season including Keven Alemán, Villyan Bijev, Jure Matjasic, Hayden Partain, Ray Saari, Drew Skundrich, Jaime Villarreal and Sam Werner. I could see the club adding one more midfielder, but the depth is pretty much there for the position.