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2020 Sacramento Republic player postmortem: Cameron Iwasa

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Reliable forward found goals harder to come by in tough year.

Courtesy of Republic FC

Cameron Iwasa returned for his fifth season with Sacramento Republic FC in 2020, the forward coming off another fantastic season with 16 goals scored in regular season play and looking like good form for more.

The Sacramento native was a regular in Mark Briggs’ first season in charge of Republic FC, but unlike being a regular starter like he had been for most of his tenure at the club, he came off the bench a third of his regular-season appearances this year, although he found some success in that role at times, too.

Here are Iwasa’s stats in 2020:

Cameron Iwasa 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 15 10 969 3 2 36 10 2 0
Playoffs 1 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 16 10 974 3 2 36 10 2 0

The big flag from these statistics is Iwasa’s scoring numbers, just three goals in 16 appearances all season. While the league played about half as many games as usual, a reduction is not a surprise, but proportionally this was a big dropoff. I think Iwasa’s scoring record was an issue for the team, as the team clearly counted on him to put up numbers and he never really got going. I don’t think you can complain about his effort level on the field — at times, it appeared he was snakebitten in front of goal, and the slump may have been getting in his head. That, and the quest to score his 50th career goal in the league, which did seem to hang around his neck for a few games before he got the important strike.

Having said all of that, nearly every Sac Republic attacker struggled to score in 2020. Only Dariusz Formella scored with any regularity. Iwasa’s three goals left him alone in third in scoring on the season, with only Formella’s eight goals and Villyan Bijev’s four beating him out.

What was the culprit of the offensive struggles? The pieces just didn’t match? A few untimely slumps on the squad? Chopping and changing the lineup? The fixture congestion and the crazy nature of the 2020 season and you know, life in general?

I think it’s hard to say it comes down to one factor, it’s likely a combination of reasons. Really, only time and a larger sample size of Briggs’ tenure with Sac Republic and Iwasa’s play moving forward will give us a definitive sense of what didn’t quite click this year.

The future may be a bit opaque for Iwasa. He’s under contract for 2021 and while Evan Ream reported the club were looking to move on, they have yet to buy him out or send him elsewhere. Briggs made it clear at the end of the season that he was looking for a new scorer for next season, and given the changes the club has made otherwise, I still expect another forward to come in, but it’s quite possible Iwasa will get another go round next year. He’s still only 27 and I think it’s quite possible he will bounce back next year if given playing time. He really has been an elite striker in the USL Championship in the past, and I think he could absolutely rebound and become a consistent scorer once more.

We’ll see what happens, but for now, he’s back for 2021. Let’s take a look back at the highlight of Iwasa’s season, when he came off the bench, drew a penalty, and scored in stoppage time to beat Reno 1868:

What do you think? Leave a comment below.