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Playing down a man becoming pattern for Sacramento Republic

File under “bad habits.”

Courtesy of Republic FC

Red cards happen in the sport of soccer. Sometimes they’re justified, sometimes they aren’t, but any team can experience the occasional early shower because that’s part of the game.

Now, having three in eight games? That’s what Sacramento Republic have had this season and that’s more concerning.

One of the three, to Jordan McCrary, took place postgame and so Sac Republic didn’t have to play down a man during a game, although they missed the veteran defender’s presence for the next match while he was suspended.

But Dan Casey and most recently, Fatai Alashe have picked up red cards in the middle of the game, and while it’s possible for a team to get a result while playing down a man, it’s not a common expectation.

Alashe’s red card for kicking out at an opponent after a tackle led to Republic FC playing with 10 players for more than a half in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Phoenix Rising.

“We have to do better,” head coach Mark Briggs told reporters after the game. “You know Dan got sent off a couple of weeks ago, Fatai got sent off tonight, it’s just not good enough. It’s not acceptable, you let your teammates down, you let your club down, you let me down, you let everyone down.”

Casey, who scored his debut goal for the club in a rally attempt that nearly bore fruit, admitted the team’s recent mistakes on this six-game winless run means the players need to make it right.

“It’s still early, but we need to address it soon,” he said. “It’s our own mistakes that are costing us which is the frustrating thing I think. Obviously, nobody enjoys losing. We’ve got great support and the coaching staff has been brilliant, but as the players we really need to sort of step up a bit more and start getting things right.”

While the team may need to address avoiding red cards in coming games, Briggs said one task was to get the team to play with as much vigor when at full strength as they do when they’re shorthanded.

“I think when we go down to 10 men or, when we have a little bit of adversity, there seems to be a freedom of belief and trust in one another, to fight for one another. But after we have to find those things that I’ve just mentioned, when we have 11 men on the field at the start of games, we have to dig deep within ourselves and find that desire that we showed, because if we show that desire and we show that commitment and that quality when we have 11 men on the field, we’ll turn these results around pretty quickly,” he said.

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