Sacramento Republic FC Builds on Championship Season

Feb 23, 2015 2 Comments

Sacramento Republic FC 30

As I walked into Bonney Field Saturday night preparing to cover another season of the Sacramento Republic FC, I was immediately greeted with the familiar sights and sounds that make attending a Republic game as good as it gets in Sacramento. From the beating of drums and whistles of the Tower Bridge Battalion – to fans dressed from head to toe in Republic gear – you got the feeling that Sacramento had missed its soccer club. 

I guess the fanfare is to be expected coming off a season where you win the USL Championship and your bid for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise (MLS) continues to gain steam by adding the Sacramento Kings and the owner of the San Francisco 49ers (Jed York) as club investors, but I am still amazed at how quickly the Republic have become part of the culture and sports fabric of Sacramento.

On the field, a record crowd of 9,794 came to watch the Republic FC take on the San Jose Earthquakes in a pre-season friendly. Saturday’s match was only the third meeting between the Republic and the Earthquakes of MLS (with the Quakes winning the first two), but judging by how physical the match was played, you would have thought this was a northern California rivalry 20 years in the making.

Sacramento Republic FC 2433There were scores of hard tackles and challenges throughout the match, resulting in a total of five yellow cards, but the most interesting of them came in the first half when Bilal Duckett (trialist for the Republic) made a hard challenge on Chris Wondolowski of the Quakes, which resulted in a heated pushing and shoving match between both sides.

Wondolowski would surface again later in the match, when in the 51st minute, he set up teammate Matias Perez Garcia beautifully who found the back of the net to give San Jose a 1-0 lead that they would not relinquish. The Republic had there fair share of quality opportunities in the second half to equalize, but the minor league team with a major league fervor could not close the deal. 

Despite the loss, the Republic played very well against a MLS team that played their starters nearly 65 minutes. It was only the third match of the season for the Republic compared to the seventh match the Quakes, including four of those matches against MLS clubs, so the Republic should have no regrets about the match’s outcome and only a positive outlook for the season to come.

“There were a lot of good and positive things on the field. Obviously, we made a couple of mistakes and got punished for the one, and I think when we sharpen up our playing, we’ll again be a good team”, said Republic FC Manager Preki. “I thought a lot of the time [during the match], we kept the ball against a very good MLS team and that’s not always easy. That shows you that our guys are pretty capable.”

Sacramento Republic FC 2434Saturday’s match also marked the return of local products Adam Jahn and Tommy Thompson, both who played with the Republic last season on loan from the Quakes. Jahn and Thompson have both credited Preki for their development and Thompson caught up with his former coach briefly after the match. “He said the [Republic] looked good as always”, said Preki. I asked him how he was and he said he’s well and healthy and [that he] just got back from U20s. I just wished him luck and [told him] to make sure he stays healthy.”

Sideline Notes:

New York Cosmos Up Next
The Republic are back at it again next Saturday, February 28 when the host the infamous New York Cosmos at Hughes Stadium on the campus of Sacramento City College. As you may recall, the Republic drew capacity crowds during their first three games last year while Bonney Field was being built. With 17,000 + tickets already sold, can the Republic produce another sellout? Bold prediction – yes.

The North End Rises
Prior to Saturday’s match, I took a stroll up the new north end grandstand, and once I got to the top, I couldn’t believe how winded I was. And here I thought I was in good shape. Anyway, it’s worth the walk up. Beautiful view wherever you look and great view of the pitch. Plus, you’re hanging with the Tower Bridge Battalion. What could possibly be better? 

Debut of New Camera
Our coverage of the FC Republic will be enhanced this season with the addition of a new Panasonic FZ1000 camera. Familiarizing myself with the new camera will be a gradual process, but I look forward to providing an expanded view of the action on the field and the support in the stands of Republic matches.  

Sacramento Republic FC 2431

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2 Responses to “Sacramento Republic FC Builds on Championship Season”

  1. Nancy says:

    Nice article Bill!

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