With the start of the season just over a week away, we wind down our 2019 Depth Chart series with a look at the Republic’s forwards.
Cameron Iwasa and Roberto Hategan are back in Old Glory Red. Additionally, the Quails added Tyler Blackwood who played with Swope Park Rangers last season (and was previously with the Republic in 2017), and Stefano Bonomo, who split time between the New York Red Bulls II and the Tampa Bay Rowdies last year.
Tyler Blackwood: As fans are keenly aware, Blackwood played last season with Swope Park Rangers where he scored eight goals and recorded three assists in 36 appearances.
I have always liked Blackwood. He has great size, speed and uses it to make really dangerous runs. He was solid for Swope Park last year and I am excited to see how he will create more attacking options for the Republic this season.
On that note, in case you missed it, ICS contributor Matthew Weber recently wrote a feature on Blackwood and what his return may mean for the club.
Stefano Bonomo: California native Bonomo was originally drafted by the New York Red Bulls in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and signed with the Red Bulls II.
Throughout his four year stint with Red Bulls II, he scored 24 goals in 64 appearances, and added nine assists. He also helped the Red Bulls II win the USL championship back in 2016, so his leadership and experience as captain of the Red Bulls, coupled with his versatility to score in different ways, is without question a huge gain for the Quails.
Bonomo earned a senior team contract prior to the 2018 season, and made his debut against Minnesota United. He was then loaned back to Red Bulls II before transferring to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. There he notched three goals and an assist in nine appearances.
Roberto Hategan: Republic academy product Hategan is back — a year older, and with another year of experience under his belt.
Hategan joined in the Republic U19s in the off-season at the 12th Annual U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase in Lakewood Ranch Florida, where he notched a brace in a 4-1 win over Richmond United. This was also the match where he showcased perhaps the best goal celebration in club history since Iwasa busted out a back flip in 2015.
It remains to be seen if Hategan sees more opportunity with the first-team this season, but I think what is most important is his continued development. The fact that he can train with the first team everyday is invaluable. When he’s ready to contribute to the first team, he will.
Cameron Iwasa: What is there to say about Iwasa that hasn’t already been said? He is without question the heart and soul of the team. A leader in every sense of the word.
As a member of the 2018 USL All-League Second Team, Iwasa led the club in goals with 17 (good for fifth in the USL) and also added six assists. He was the one consistent threat on offense, a handful for every opposing team, but also did the little things off the ball that contributed to the overall success of the team.
With stronger depth along side of him this season, not only are the Republic going to feature a more dangerous attack, I could see Iwasa individually having an MVP type of season. The attack should be more open, which should translate to more chances.
What are your thoughts on the Republic at the forward position?