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2020 Sacramento Republic player postmortem: Kharlton Belmar

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Versatile attacker showed value as surprise playmaker.

Courtesy of Republic FC.

Kharlton Belmar was an exciting signing by Sacramento Republic FC in 2020, a successful USL Championship striker who was a big name in the circuit and a signal of intent by the club heading into Mark Briggs’ first year as head coach.

As expected, the player in the prime of his career played the majority of the minutes this year for his new club, but as it was an unusual year for Belmar, as it was for Sac Republic to an extent, for the USL Championship for sure and the world overall.

Notably, Belmar’s reputation had been built on scoring goals, a versatile striker capable of notching scores in a few different ways. But in fact, he ended up scoring just one goal in 2020. And yet it was still a pretty decent season!

Here are Belmar’s stats for 2020:

Kharlton Belmar 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 13 9 851 1 4 19 3 3 0
Playoffs 1 1 115 0 0 1 0 0 0
Total 14 10 966 1 4 20 3 3 0

The big shift in 2020 was Belmar led the team in assists, with four. That total isn’t an outlier in his career, so he’s always been able to set up teammates, and maybe that side of his game isn’t highlighted much.

But while Belmar is traditionally thought of as a pure striker, throughout his career he’s moved around, playing as a central forward, but also as a winger, attacking midfielder and basically any attacking position. Briggs made use of that, with Belmar basically splitting his time between being a wide set-up man and a central striker in 2020.

And so becoming a de facto playmaker was an evolutionary shift for the player, but not out of the realm of the possible compared to his career trajectory. I do wonder if he would be most effective in honing in on one role and kind of running with it. Part of that comes because I find that forwards who get moved around a lot tend to struggle with rhythm and scoring regularly. And yes, we saw that with Belmar.

And I do think scoring just the one goal is a tiny bit concerning, but considering the bizarre year we’ve had and how disrupted and strange the season was, I don’t think we need to get overly critical about the lack of goals. Belmar was not the only player who was not consistently scoring as expected, and so the “burden” of struggles was shared around the team. It’s nice when a team shares the load in scoring, but there were also absolutely games when the attacking stars were expected to perform, and they often were unable to.

As a result, I think Sac Republic’s decision to bring Belmar back for the 2021 season, which was announced last week, makes complete sense. He still contributed and seemed to fit in with the lineup this year, and he’s a player who is capable of being USL Championship Best XI when he’s at his best. And if next season can be a bounce-back year for the world and the league, perhaps the more normal surroundings can help him really show what he can do, too.

Let’s wrap up by looking back at the goal he scored in 2020.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.