With a disappointing ending after a magical season in 2018, Sacramento Republic FC set out to improve its roster by targeting promising young prospects in hopes of improving the squad for the upcoming season (2019) and beyond. At age 23, Sam Werner came to Sacramento after playing four years at Stanford and has made an immediate impact.
After entering the first match of the season as a substitute, Werner started in the Republic’s second game of the season and immediately showed he could contribute. His first goal was against OKC Energy FC in his second start of the season. Although Werner hasn’t been a starter on a consistent basis, his continuous attack on the wing has been nothing short of a breathe of fresh air in a season where scoring has been a struggle.
In terms of scoring, Werner is second on the team with four goals and 24 shot attempts; two of which came after the 80th minute to win a couple much needed matches for the Republic. In fact, Sacramento’s record, albeit a small sample size, is 8-5-1 when Werner starts and is 0-2-1 with Werner coming in as a substitute or not playing at all. With this being his first full season as professional athlete, his attacking ability has shown to make a positive impact. His 33 chances created puts him at the top of the team by 10 (Saari 23).
Most of his chances created have come from the outside due to his ability to attempt accurate crosses into the opponent’s box with 88 attempts (first on the team) and with 27 percent accuracy (second on the team). These crosses have led to three assists (tied with Iwasa and Saari for most) and have caused him to become a real threat on the outside and a focal point on the offensive end of the field.
Werner has shown he is a quality starter on a competitive team on the hunt for a playoff spot. While the Republic sits at the eighth seed in the Western Conference, they’re only halfway through the regular season and will need all of the offensive firepower they can get.
With Werner only averaging 79 minutes a start, it may be wise to let him play all 90 minutes for the majority of the remaining matches. At this point in the season, and with a high chance of missing the playoffs, there’s no point in taking a chance by resting a well rounded 23 year old.