One of the big questions heading into Wednesday’s home opener for Sacramento Republic FC is who will get the start at goalkeeper for Mark Briggs’ team.
In one corner is Tomas Gomez, who made a stellar opening to his tenure with the club, with a clean sheet in a 1-0 road win over LA Galaxy II to open the season a little over a week ago.
In the other is Rafael Diaz, who won the No. 1 job in 2020 and emerged to become not only one of the key players for the team but all the way to becoming a late-blooming international off the back of last season.
Diaz suffered a groin injury that kept him out of consideration for the season opener, but as of last week, he appeared to be a full participant in training again.
It’s a dilemma for Wednesday’s game against Las Vegas, potentially.
Briggs has said that Diaz was entering the 2021 season as the starter, but given the signing of Gomez and Diaz likely to miss some time this year while playing for the Dominican Republic, I imagine this will be more of a timeshare between the goalkeepers, both of whom are starter-caliber. Gomez, after all, is a two-time USL Championship Golden Glove winner for having a tiny goals against average.
And coming out of a clean debut for the club, I think the starter against Las Vegas may end up being the player who performed best in training. It’s good to have two good goalkeepers available, but one of the early big calls for Briggs may end up being who gets the nod in goal for the second game of the campaign. It certainly won’t be make or break, but it may help set the tone for the rest of the season. We’ll see.
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