Sacramento Republic FC are gearing up for the restart of the 2020 USL Championship regular season, which is scheduled to kick off Monday against Tacoma Defiance at a closed-door Papa Murphy’s Park.
The good news is that in nearly every position, the squad looks fresh and healthy. Nearly every player is healthy and available for the game against Tacoma, according to a SRFC spokesperson Saturday.
The one question, however, is at left back. Juan Barahona, who started the season opener, is officially ruled out for the game. Shannon Gomez, working his way back from a long-term injury, appears to be available for some minutes, but in a training video released by the club, Gomez was in non-contact work with the team. It should be noted that the timing of that video is not clear, and anyway, he may have gotten clearance for contact in the meantime ahead of the game, that’s unclear.
But, if Barahona is out and Gomez can only come on in a pinch or has a minutes limit, then it’s a big question to wonder who’s next. Is that Ash Apollon’s music?
Apollon is the preseason trialist who earned a contract with the first team, and Sac Republic said they saw him as capable of playing both as an attacker and a wide defender. Apollon made his Sac Republic competitive debut in the season-opening 1-1 draw against FC Tulsa, coming off the bench to replace Villyan Bijev for the final eight minutes. In that game, he appeared to play higher up, but with left back a potential question, Apollon could be in line for his first Republic FC start and in defense.
Other than that, it sounds like the squad is healthy, more or less fit, and ready to go. With six days between the first two rounds of scheduled games, head coach Mark Briggs could opt to go with a strong lineup two games in a row, or he could aim to try and rotate lineups or specific positions regularly, that remains to be seen. But with Sac Republic aiming to top their group and then compete for the league title this year, I expect a strong lineup out of the gate Monday, and fortunately, nearly everyone is available for selection.
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