With only five matches under Sacramento Republic FC’s belt, the season has started as good as one could expect. Early on team and advanced statistics show Sacramento doesn’t dominate in a single statistical category. Instead, they tend to perform at an above average to solid level at everything, which makes them one of the more frustrating teams to play against in all of the USL.
Currently sitting on a 3-1-1 record, Sacramento has continued to prove one of it’s best attributes is consistency; constantly sitting in or around the top five in their respective conference regardless of the schedule or player turnover.
Although team success could be pointed toward many factors such as coaching, development, scheme, front office, to name a few, the team performs as well as their best player which has been none other than Cameron Iwasa.
Born and raised in Sacramento, Iwasa has gone through his developmental years with his hometown team, but has truly blossomed into one of the USL’s more talented scorers over the past year and a half. After his lack of opportunity with Sporting Kansas City, Iwasa’s return to Sacramento has been nothing but ruthless attacking and elite scoring.
After ranking sixth in overall goal scoring (17) and second in shots attempted (92) in 2018, Iwasa currently sits at a much more efficient second in goals scored (5) and sixth in shot attempts (12). As shown by the numbers above, Iwasa’s shot to goal conversion rate from 2018 to 2019 has boosted from 18 percent to a much-improved 38 percent. Obviously, we can’t expect this rate to continue but it seems more than likely Iwasa’s goal total will increase from last season to this one.
Iwasa’s attacking ability goes beyond goals scored. With the ball at his feet, he is one of the more dangerous players in the USL. With his play-making ability still being a little raw, Iwasa has been able to score four of his goals UNASSISTED, while all of those goals have occurred within the box.
His 11 chances created also place him within the top seven of the USL thus resulting in his five goals (nine on target), one assist, and one shot on target by a teammate. His 75 percent pass success rate has been consistent with his recent stint in Sacramento, but his willingness to pass in the direction of the opponents’ goals has increased from 23 percent in 2018 to 32 percent in 2019, thus showing an increase in aggressive play.
With his willingness to play more aggressively, and consistent passing numbers, this will only bode well for Sacramento’s attack and Iwasa’s offensive development.
Obviously the season is still young and Iwasa’s statistical trajectory has been significantly boosted due to his club record-breaking hat trick against OKC Energy (three goals under 27 minutes), but you cannot deny his desire to improve.
At age 25, his future and years in his athletic prime approach at a time where the club’s potential to win another championship is as high as it’s ever been. Dominant performances early in the season are essential for a club that plans to go for a deep playoff push and Iwasa didn’t waste any time to display his dominance and coming home with a USL Player of the week award in week three.
Last year, Iwasa helped lead Sacramento into its most successful regular season record since their championship year in 2014 at 17-4-8. Although the playoffs ended in familiar fashion (a first round exit), plenty of promise was shown after Coach Simon Elliott’s first year and a much improved attack led by Iwasa.
At current pace, Republic looks to go beyond 18 wins (which would surpass last year’s win total) and with Iwasa’s early success along with the implementation of Coach Elliott’s system, there’s no reason to doubt the high ceiling this team has.