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Why Sacramento Republic FC will win the USL PRO Championship



Why Sacramento Republic FC will win the USL PRO Championship


By Richard Bauer


The first year club know as Sacramento Republic FC is a contender and it has the results to verify this statement. They have a Coach with MLS credentials who has proven his voice is in control of the players. They have a pipeline into 2 MLS squads that have provided the right blend of youth and experience into a squad of solid professionals. They have a first division home field advantage in a third division league. They have a belief. A belief that they can compete with any team in the league for 90 minutes and get the winning result. Sacramento Republic FC is just different. And, in this case, different is good. So, why will they win the title this year? 

Depth and a strategic foundation. The unknown factors I could not predict when I saw Sacramento Republic FC play its first preseason game oh so many months ago now. These two keys are carrying this squad to a 3rd place spot in the USL Pro standings currently. The most important factor of those two is the strategies of the squad. It has been the same no matter who has been in the first 11. Sacramento has a talent for possessing the ball. They move forward in numbers and they defend all over the field. Extreme ball pressure from everyone allows the team to regain possession. Sacramento has frustrated a lot of teams with the constant chasing of the ball. Most USL pro teams can’t create an offensive flow from the back. Defenders are prone to turnovers and this plays right into getting the Sacramento offensive going. The offense is flowing because of the many players that can create chances from any position on the field. They also have a league MVP candidate in the center of the midfield in Rodrigo Lopez. That said, no one player can be singled out as the main source of goals. Sacramento has 5-6 players with 5+ goals on the season. The individual characteristics of the roster have strengths that are magnified by the team mentality. It works and it travels well.

Now, the depth. Sacramento Republic FC has had many injuries and card suspensions. That has tested the depth throughout the season. Players have played various positions as well. The most important thing Sacramento has going for its roster is the spine is strong. All good teams are solid through the middle. The scheduling sometimes dictates that the entire active roster has to be utilized in a 3 day span. Players such as Thomas Stewart, Nemanja Vukovic and Chad Bartolme have shown great versatility. Early season injuries to Justin Braun and Jake Gleeson gave instant opportunities to Dakota Collins and Dominik Jakubek to contribute to the squad. Sacramento has benefitted enormously later in the year from having an entire squad that’s ready, willing and able.

I believe other teams have the ability to beat Sacramento. Sacramento has weaknesses. But, in a playoff system that will test tactics, depth and character this leads me to one conclusion. Sacramento Republic FC will win a title in its first season.
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