I had a chance to briefly catch up with Sacramento Republic FC Manager Simon Elliott following Wednesday’s international friendly against FC Juarez. It has been a minute since we last did an Extra Time segment, so it was good to catch up with him on a couple of topics including his assessment of the season, the performance of Thomas Enevoldsen, the international friendly, and more.
As always, many thanks to Simon for making time to talk with me. Be sure to look for the final Extra Time segment at the end of the season. And with that, let’s get to it!
Any bright spots for you from the international friendly?
I would say generally the whole night was a bright spot. We got guys minutes that wanted minutes and they were professional. We played all the young players that we wanted to play and they did well.
Juarez is a serious team and play in a serious league, so it was great to see our guys rise to the occasion. We are delighted with the whole evening.
We had 15 and 16 year-old [kids] out there, so for me it’s an absolute positive. They [played] a first division team from Mexico and performed. So we’re delighted. This is something that will stay with these guys for a long time and will give them confidence as they try and break in to the first team.
For me, the performance from the young players was the takeaway for us.
Are you frustrated that you are in the position you are in fighting for a playoff spot, or do you look at more as hey, we’re in this thing...let’s go get it?
I think the latter. You have to accept the position that you are in. This is reality. We’ve had 32 games, we have had chances to push further up and it hasn’t happened. In recent times though, we have turned a corner, the group is in a good place, and I think they are aware of what’s in front of them. They are ready to go and get after it.
Thomas Enevoldsen with eight goals in 10 matches since he joined the Republic back in August. Is there anything from him you would still like to see to help push the team forward?
Look, I mean, we’re always trying to get better. That is the nature of the beast. You want to win games, but you want improve all the time while you are doing it. We have had some ups and downs this year, but like I said, the group is in a good place, they are aware of the things we need to work on, and they are showing that they are motivated to do it.
I think there is always ways where we can improve, so we just need to keep sharpening the sword.
Hayden Partain is a guy we wanted to see get more minutes [this season]. What is your assessment of his play?
I think he has done really well. He hasn’t had the minutes he wanted with us, but every chance he’s gotten, he’s tried to approach it correctly. He did last weekend, and he did it again tonight, so he puts himself in the frame every time he goes out to train, and certainly when he shows up like he has week.