One game is in the books, from April, and now it’s time to look ahead to the first full month of Sacramento Republic FC’s 2021 season. It’s May!
With the USL Championship offering all kinds of flexibility to teams in their schedule this year, it’s a pretty light load for Republic FC this month. Let’s thumbnail sketch preview the games ahead:
Wednesday, May 12: vs. Las Vegas Lights FC
Sacramento get nearly two weeks before their opening game and the second one, against Las Vegas. Lights FC haven’t kicked off their season yet but will this coming Wednesday against LA Galaxy II, so there will be game tape from one game before the teams square off.
That part is important because Las Vegas Lights have completely overturned their roster from last season — no players remain! Also the coach has changed and LAFC run the sporting ops now for the club. This is essentially a new team on the field, so they probably will play like an expansion team? I know variance is much more common in the USL Championship but this is going to be a makeover like we haven’t really seen before. I expect Lights FC will play like an MLS2 team, but Sac Republic just barely beat an MLS2 team, even if they are better than most, so we’ll see.
Saturday, May 22: at Orange County SC
After a nine-day break following the Las Vegas game, Sac Republic will then play OCSC, which will be their first game of the season. The coach, Braeden Cloutier, and much of the roster remains intact from 2020, but they’ve changed goalkeepers and added a lot of attacking firepower in the offseason. They are not taking the season lightly.
It will be in Orange County, which will probably boost OCSC a bit, but Sac Republic may have built better competitive match fitness by this point, even if their initial games are spread pretty far apart, so that would be a benefit for Republic FC. Still, I think both of these teams are expecting to reach the playoffs so this should be a good one, and talent-wise the first really big matchup for both teams.
Saturday, May 29: vs. Phoenix Rising FC
But wait, the tests are far from over, as then Sacramento wrap up the month by hosting Phoenix Rising for the teams’ first meeting of the year. Phoenix were in fine fettle to open the season, beating San Diego Loyal 4-1 at home on Friday. Santi Moar had a big game in the opener for Phoenix.
Everyone outside the Pacific Division is projecting Phoenix to win it and even inside the division I think everyone knows they have to go through Phoenix. Having said that, while I think they are a tough and very good side, I don’t think they are going to win every game this season and I think Sacramento Republic showed in the playoffs they can go toe-to-toe. This is a good statement game for both sides, and if Sac Republic get the win in this one, that will absolutely turn some heads around the league. We’ll see.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.