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2020 Sacramento Republic player postmortem: Dariusz Formella

Leading scorer made big jump up in second season stateside.

Courtesy of Republic FC

In talking to Sacramento Republic FC head coach Mark Briggs ahead of the 2020 season, I asked him which players had impressed him in preseason. After doing a common coach strategy and demurring on naming players specifically, he eventually volunteered Dariusz Formella as a player who had impressed him in the run up to the season.

In the end, that confidence in the player was well-founded.

Formella was a real bright spot on the season, leading the team in scoring far and away with eight goals. The Polish attacker was by far the most consistent player on the team in terms of attacking production, and scored in batches, including four goals against Tacoma Defiance across the season.

Here are Formella’s stats for 2020:

Darek Formella 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 14 13 1,093 8 1 35 13 2 0
Playoffs 1 1 120 0 0 2 1 1 0
Total 15 14 1,213 8 1 37 14 3 0

There were a few elements of Formella’s game, aside from the goals themselves, that stood out in 2020. First, he was definitely the most shoot-happy player overall. While he was second on the team in total shots, one behind Cameron Iwasa, he led the way in shots on target and had a quick trigger. Shooting alone doesn’t necessarily mean success, but with Sac Republic struggling to score consistently in 2020, they needed players who weren’t afraid to take a chance. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, and all that.

Second, Formella was a streaky player, and when he was on, he was on. There are games when you need a player to just carry the team on a night, and I think he showed glimpses that he can do that. He’s 25, he has a good level of experience, but he can build on that and potentially get better in the future.

To be fair, I think the flipside is that Formella’s streaky side meant there were games where he was really ineffective. In general, he was either clicking or he was hitting shot after shot that got blocked by a defender two feet in front of him. It was seldom anything in between. And that showed in the number of games he scored in, five in his 15 appearances, because he scored three braces.

So consistency is a question. However, had Sacramento had another player who was approaching double-digit goals on the season — the next closest scorer had three — then the ebbs and flows for Formella might have been smoothed out. And again, he was performing, so while it wasn’t flawless, a scoring rate of about a goal every two games is really good, honestly.

And he’ll get more of a chance to show what he can do in 2021, after he was re-signed this past week by Sac Republic. He’s at a good age, he’s coming off a solid season, and I think there’s a hope he can continue to improve. As a secondary scoring option, he may thrive even more, as he wouldn’t be the main player for opposing defenses to hone in on. Given his mercurial skills, he would likely benefit even more from second banana status.

But regardless, 2020 was a strong season for Formella. I think he’s someone who if he really makes a leap, could be a USL Championship Best XI-caliber player. If he doesn’t hit that height, he can still be a key player for a team that is looking to compete for a title, and every team needs players like that.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.