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Three things to watch for as Sacramento Republic host Orange County SC

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Can Republic FC bounce back against a tricky opponent?

Courtesy of Republic FC.

Sacramento Republic are back in action Wednesday night when they face Orange County SC at Papa Murphy’s Park.

Coming off a frustrating loss on Saturday to LA Galaxy II, there’s plenty of intrigue for Republic FC, and here’s what we’re watching for ahead of the match:

Iwasa or Formella?

Dariusz Formella had a brace in the first game back from the shutdown, and he’s looked lively at times. But the last two games, he’s been inconsistent and ultimately ineffective in scoring.

Cameron Iwasa has been on the bench the last two games and entered in the second half. Against Reno 1868, the gambit worked, as he drew and converted a late penalty to win it. Against Los Dos, he struggled to get a rhythm and make an impact in the match.

So will Mark Briggs make a switch in his forward set-up against Orange County? Rotation clearly seems to be a necessity for this shortened season, and while Formella has shown he’s got a spark, the consistency to start every game may not be there. So will the presumed starter, Iwasa, get the nod in this game? We’ll see.

Early goal, worry less

In soccer, you can’t exactly order a goal, and a goal in the first minute can be as valuable as a goal in second-half stoppage time.

But aside from scoring early to equalize against Tacoma Defiance’s very early goal, Sacramento have had a slow burn in attack for the most part this season. With Orange County an experienced, stout team themselves, a single chance may be all Sac Republic sees over the course of the game. Can they become more clinical with the chances they see to try and put the game away?

Regardless, Sacramento held a lead in the first game of the season, way back in March, and then they got the win with nearly the final kick of the game against Reno. Otherwise, leads have not been their thing this season. To work on putting games away, the focus will be to get that lead and then, hopefully hold onto it. If they can get an early lead, so much the better — we know the defense can do work.

Playoff tuneup?

Orange County have only played three games so far but they’re unbeaten, including a win and a draw against Phoenix Rising. I think Phoenix gets most of the attention in the West, but OCSC are probably going to be a tough match here. It feels like all of Republic FC’s games are tough tests so far, but this one? If these teams make the playoffs, don’t be the least bit surprised if they meet in the postseason. I think this could be a very, very good matchup indeed, and it’s bound to be another battle. But if Sacramento come out of it with a win, they’ll be able to hold their heads high for sure.

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