The OC Blues face NorCal opposition for the first time this season on Saturday, as they travel to take on Sacramento Republic FC. In order to get a sense of what's going on in Sacramento, I spoke again to Josh Beeman, now of SB Nation's Sac Republic site Indomitable City Soccer, about his team. Many thanks to Josh for taking the time to answer my questions!
The Goat Parade asks Indomitable City Soccer:
1. It seems like Sacramento Republic is having a tough start to the season, and then I look at the standings and they are right next to the Blues! Maybe it isn't a sparkling start, but I expected them to be doing worse than they are, based on the lackluster results so far. Are folks around Sacramento worried about this team's capabilities this year, or is the slow start a bit overblown in your opinion?
Folks in Sacramento are definitely worried about the team's offensive capabilities this season. The Republic has only scored two goals so far this season, putting them dead last in goals per game. While part of the low scoring can be blamed on disallowed goals that may or may not have been allowed to stand, Sacramento seems to have a hard time generating good chances at the moment. There's still time to see if this is just an unfortunate early season struggle, but it does not seem likely at this point.
2. Former Sac Republic coach Preki was not afraid to move players in and out of his roster, but current coach Paul Buckle appears to finally have his full imprint on the roster. Is there a new player or two who is standing out so far this season?
The new player who has stood out so far this season is center back Chris Christian, formerly of the Atlanta Silverbacks and Colorado Springs Switchbacks. He was brought to the team to help strengthen a central defense that was depleted in the offseason and so far he has done a good job. Christian has been an important part of the Republic's strong defense.
3. Sacramento Republic has already won a USL league title, the MLS aspirations are well known and somewhat acknowledged -- I'm wondering what the medium-term goal is for the club? Do you feel there are benchmarks, on or off the field, that the team and community are working towards in the meantime to keep success and attention with the club?
I feel that the main medium-term goal is to just continue being a successful club at the USL and keep the momentum built up through the first two seasons going. Unless something crazy happens with Miami it looks like the earliest that the Republic might get in to MLS would be 2020, so they will likely be spending a few years in USL still. Another goal might also be to pour energy into long-term player development of young guys on the first team and players in the academy in order to have a talented player pool to potentially take to MLS.
4. (Bonus) Prediction for Saturday's game?
I think the Republic will score but that they only have one goal in them. Whether it is a win or a loss comes down to the team's defense and whether or not it shoots itself in the foot like it did last week. I think we are in store for a 1-0 Sacramento Republic win.
You can read my answers to Indomitable City Soccer's questions about the Blues, too.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!