The season opener is Saturday, but it’s just the beginning for Sacramento Republic FC, even for the current month. With the season right around the corner, let’s take a look at the schedule for the month ahead for Republic FC:
Saturday, March 7 - home vs. FC Tulsa
The season kicks off with Sacramento hosting the team formerly known as the Tulsa Roughnecks, the Oklahoma side seeking to bounce back after a second straight poor season. They’ve added a few key names, like attacker Lebo Moloto, and they probably won’t be the doormat they’ve been the majority of their existence in the USL Championship.
As it’s the season opener, it’s hard to project how the teams will perform with no sample size to look back on, so Tulsa could look great/mediocre/terrible, but so could Sacramento. All things considered, getting an opening-night nod at home against Tulsa seems like a good starting game for Republic FC, but time will tell if history will win out or if Tulsa will be a surprise package in 2020.
Saturday, March 14 - away at Las Vegas Lights FC
After the opener, Sacramento will hit the road for their second game as they take on Las Vegas for the first time in 2020. Eric Wynalda is back for another season as the manager for Lights FC, and they’ve added defender Ramon Martin del Campo from Fresno RIP, and considerable roster movement since last season.
Wynalda did bring improvement to Las Vegas, as they finished 13th in the West last year, better than the 15th-place finish the year before, but while Vegas have nailed the art of the minor league promotion, they are still craving some stability on the soccer side and this would appear to be a big make-or-break season for Wynalda’s vision. Will they have the ability to move up an echelon in the west, or will it be another rocky season on the field? We’ll see!
Saturday, March 21 - away at LA Galaxy II
A week after that, Sacramento will travel to SoCal to take on their original rival, LA Galaxy II, at Los Dos’ home. LA have had a run of playing less and less experienced teams in recent years, making them no longer a legit title contender, but they are a team that tends to perform more often than not, and independent teams that take it easy against them do so at their peril.
But really, if this continues as it has for Galaxy II, the book is you really can’t count on consistency game to game. They could look amazing one week, terrible the next, and it’s a fool’s errand to predict which version is which will show up every week. All that said, if Galaxy II run with a young group again this year, as expected, Republic FC have to think they can snag a road win here if they’re up for it.
Wednesday, March 25 - home vs. Reno 1868 FC
The next game comes on short rest, for Sac Republic’s first midweek game, as they host a more recent rival, Reno 1868 FC, for the first time. Reno, like Sacramento, are projected to be in the contending pack in the West this season, and they bring back much of their core from last year, while adding some good USL pieces. They’re also likely to get a few players on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes, too, by the time they play Sacramento.
Since it’s a midweek game, we could see some lineup rotation on both sides, but expect this to be a good one, and not necessarily an easy three points. Still, one expects this one to be a key game for both teams’ seasons, potentially.
Sunday, March 29 - home vs. OKC Energy FC
The month concludes with a fifth game, this one against the other Oklahoma team. OKC have a new manager this year, John Pascarella, after a disappointing 15th-place finish in the West last season. Missing the playoffs the last two years, Energy have been pretty back-and-forth year to year in their history, but they’re aiming for a rebound in 2020.
Energy FC have added a slew of USL-experienced players and seem like they won’t be roadkill this year, but a third home game in Republic FC’s first five means they will likely be aiming to get double-digit points out of their first month, and a home win here should be a good contribution to that goal.
So there you have it, five games in the month, four on the weekend, one midweek, three at home, two on the road. What’s your goal for points for SRFC in the first month of the season? Which team do you think will be the biggest test? Let’s chat in the comments below!