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2020 Sacramento Republic player postmortem: Juan Barahona

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Left back’s season was rather subdued this time around.

Courtesy of Republic FC.

Juan Barahona came back to Sacramento Republic FC for his second season in 2020. The left back started the season as the first-choice left back, starting in the season opener against FC Tulsa in March before the coronavirus shutdown.

But from there, it was an uncharacteristically quiet season for the Salvadoran international, as he battled injury after the restart and ended up playing in just four games altogether, albeit all 90-minute starts.

Here are Barahona’s statistics for 2020:

Juan Barahona 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 4 4 360 0 2 6 2 2 0
Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 4 4 360 0 2 6 2 2 0

Barahona was seen as a coup when Sac Republic signed him, a player who was young enough who could spend some time with the club, maybe earn a green card, then if he was clearly too strong for the USL Championship, perhaps get sold on to an MLS team.

But in battling injury, and Sac Republic’s relative depth at left back, Barahona never got a full run in 2020, and he did a job but wasn’t indispensable. I think he showed his attacking quality, getting two assists in just four games, both in close games, so he could step up in the moment, but again, when he was seemingly ready to go, fellow injury returnee Shannon Gomez was healthy and Mark Briggs went with the Trinidadian.

Sacramento Republic confirmed Barahona won’t be returning to the club for 2021, but he found a good landing spot, heading back to El Salvador and signing with Isidro Metapán, making his debut Saturday and scoring an equalizer to draw, too, in stoppage time.

I think frankly, it’s not a bad move back home for Barahona. Isidro Metapán used to be a powerhouse in El Salvador but have recently fallen off the perch, and I think there’s some potential they could push on again. Barahona is still just 24, he’s got a much bigger profile in his native country, and he should be able to keep his place on El Salvador’s national team. Perhaps in the future he’ll get a move abroad again, and if not, he’s home and can continue to be a star there.

So ends Barahona’s tenure at Sacramento Republic FC. I think it’s a bit of a shame, but it’s also tough to carry two starting-caliber, international-caliber left backs on a USL Championship squad. Barahona had some good times in Sacramento, but 2020 was a struggle for him, and he never really got a long run. It happens. It’ll be interesting to see how his career unfolds from here.

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