Sacramento Republic FC lost their first game of the season Saturday night, a tough 1-0 result on the road against LA Galaxy II. It was a night of frustration and a loss never feels good. At the same time, almost every team loses at least sometimes.
Still, aside from the performance itself, let’s put the result in context of what’s most important right now, group standings for Sacramento Republic.
Good news: They’re still in first place
Yes, even with the loss Sac Republic remain atop the standings in Group A. Five points on four games isn’t a commanding lead, as they’re just a point ahead of Tacoma Defiance, but for the moment, the two earlier draws and the loss against Los Dos haven’t actually put them in a hole yet at all. So there’s your silver lining.
Bad news: Two group opponents have two games in hand
Republic FC may be two and five points, respectively, ahead of Reno 1868 and Portland Timbers 2 right now, but both of those teams have played just two games. Reno’s positive coronavirus test in their organization led to two games — against Portland and Tacoma, unsurprisingly — being postponed last week. So depending on how those games go, Sacramento’s lead in the group may be safe, or a mirage when the games are made up.
On the bright side, USL Championship teams are used to playing schedules where teams don’t play an even number of games week to week, so this situation in itself is not really a drastic change from the usual, in a year where nearly everything is different.
But with just 16 regular-season games scheduled in total, plus the added concern of whether the full schedule will ultimately be played depending on how the coronavirus pandemic runs, Sac Republic maintain a lead in the group stage, which counts for something. However, they only have 12 games left to really round into form, and a pace of 20 points across 16 games could be enough to reach the playoffs but sounds pretty dangerous. For now, Mark Briggs and his squad can only prepare for the games as they come, with the next coming Wednesday back at home against Orange County SC.
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