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2020 Sacramento Republic player postmortem: Shannon Gomez

Fullback returned from major injury, and then some.

Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Timbers 2 (Courtesy of Republic FC)

Shannon Gomez came back from a major knee injury suffered in 2019 to play a role in Sacramento Republic FC’s 2020 season. Like other players on long-term injury, the coronavirus shutdown may have been to his benefit in getting back on the field.

The club really rallied around Gomez, who had a setback in his initial rehab but ended up getting straightened out in time to get back on the field in late August.

Here are Gomez’s statistics for 2020:

Shannon Gomez 2020 statistics

2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Regular Season 6 2 282 0 0 0 0 1 0
Playoffs 1 1 56 0 0 1 0 0 0
Total 7 3 338 0 0 1 0 1 0

The 2020 season was Gomez’s third in Sacramento, with the defender still just 24 years old. Making two starts and getting minutes under his belt in the final month and a half of the regular season got him back to fitness, with head coach Mark Briggs giving him the left back slot in the biggest game of the season, starting against Phoenix Rising in the playoffs.

Gomez was strong in that playoff game, and only came out in the 55th minute due to an injury that forced him out of the match. There is no indication that it was a serious injury, but in the moment, it turned out to be a blow, with Phoenix increasingly putting pressure on Sacramento after the Trinidadian left the match. His absence seemed to help his case of being important for the cause, in other words.

His minutes were still pretty limited this season, but he did not look limited after the knee injury and long recovery back, and the club seem to see him as the starting left back of 2021, after exercising his contract option this week, and in turn declining the options on fellow left backs Juan Barahona and Ash Apollon. The playoff start and the club’s roster moves really indicates they’re very high on Gomez.

Best case scenario, next season Gomez can get some regular run and match or surpass fellow fullback Jordan McCrary’s steady play on the field, game in and game out. I think the club thinks his ceiling is high and if he can stay healthy, that seems like a solid bet. And again, at the age of 24 he’s got a shot of making left back his own the next couple seasons and getting a shot back to MLS through Sac Republic’s move to the top flight.

So Gomez accomplished something big in 2020 by simply getting back on the field after a major injury, but he also showed he can be the regular starter moving forward, even in limited minutes. Expect him to play a big role with the club in 2021.

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