Sacramento Republic FC defeated Austin Bold FC last night 2-1 in what was unquestionably one of the biggest wins (if not the biggest) in what has been an up-and-down season. Consider for a second that the game was on the road, against a club ahead of them in the standings, and with major playoff implications on the line.
Below are three key takeaways from last night’s match:
- Defining moment: Last night was a defining moment in the season (at least so far). A loss would have delivered a pretty big blow not only to the possibility of hosting a playoff game (top four host), but it would have pushed them further down the table and into a possible play in game scenario following the final weekend of the regular season where the seventh seed plays the tenth seed and seeds eight and nine play each other. Winners of those matches then travel to face the conference top two seeds. Nobody wants that. Of course, there is still plenty of games ahead for the Quails so anything can happen, but good on the players for recognizing the importance of the moment and seizing the opportunity.
- Iwasa and Enevoldsen are fun: When Thomas Enevoldsen joined the Republic a few weeks ago, fans were rightfully giddy about the possible pairing of Enevoldsen along side Cameron Iwasa, and the potential damage the duo could inflict on opposing back lines. With a sufficient sample size of games now behind us, I think we can safely say it’s worked out well (like, really well). The the two have quickly developed a nice rapport that has paid off measurably — on the field cohesion, goals and assists. How they continue to jell may be the difference down the stretch. All I know is I want to see more of it.
- Turning point: The Republic have quietly won three of their last five matches and have only dropped two matches over their last eight (4-2-2). After a bit of a clunker in Los Angeles on August 31, the question now is whether the Republic have finally turned the corner. Are they on the cusp of making a late September run? Goalkeeping and the back line has been pretty solid (six goals conceded over last eight, 0.75 goals per match). The Republic are tied for third-most clean sheets (11) and hold the fourth best defense in the West with only 30 goals conceded. We already talked about how Iwasa and Enevoldsen are playing, and there are others like Sam Werner who has been sensational all season. No bold prediction here or inside information, but my feeling is this is the beginning of a fun September on and off the pitch.
What do you think? Are you more hopeful with the direction of the team with the play of late? Sound off in our comments section below!