Editors note: With the start of the 2019 Sacramento Republic FC season just around the corner, we are launching into our annual Depth Chart series over the next few weeks to help familiarize fans with this year’s squad and the depth at each position. Today, we start with the men between the posts.
Sacramento Republic FC will begin the 2019 season with the same two goalkeepers they had last season in Josh Cohen and Rafael Diaz. This is without question a good thing.
Cohen logged nearly every minute last season, and deservingly so. As we have said numerous times, he was arguably the club’s most valuable player — whether he was keeping his side in the game or saving a win late to preserve three points.
Consistency and leadership at this position for any club is important, so it goes without saying that it’s huge that this core is back. With that, let’s dive in.
Josh Cohen: Cohen is back wearing Old Glory Red once again, and we couldn’t be more excited. Given the season he had last year, the consensus with most is that he had done enough to earn himself a look with an MLS side.
He finished second in the USL Goalkeeper of the Year vote (which he should have won by the way), second in the league in saves with 117, fifth in the league in 12 clean sheets, and he posted a 0.94 percent goals-against average.
Cohen was a workhorse for Republic Manager Simon Elliott, providing great stability and leadership at the position. We expect nothing more but the same out of him again in 2019.
Rafael Diaz: We didn’t get to see much of the 27 year-old Diaz last year given Cohen’s play. I had to go back to see what matches he did play in and the only match I saw was the opening around of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against San Francisco City FC back in May, in what was a 3-1 Republic victory.
Diaz was also hurt for a brief spell, but I don’t believe that played a role in him not playing more. Cohen was just that good. And, it was clear early on that Elliott is not one to platoon goalkeepers, which had been more of the norm under former Manager Paul Buckle.
The bottom line is this. Republic FC General Manager Todd Dunivant wouldn’t have brought Diaz in if he couldn’t play, so if Elliott calls his number, I do believe he is a solid option for the Quails.
How do you feel about this year’s core of goalkeepers? Let us know in the comment section below!