Sacramento Sorting Things Out in USL PRO

Team is learning to play together despite tough early schedule
by Frankie Devai   |   Tuesday, May 13, 2014

SacSoc – column on the Sacramento soccer scene.

After sprinting from the starting line, the Sacramento Republic has slowed their pace a bit. With 5 consecutive away matches and 2 very intense home games, the team has clearly been drained of its initial energy burst. This isn’t a permanent issue, however, as the team has started to come together and take advantage of the talented players on its roster.

As an expansion team with no experience playing together and no home field advantage to speak of until last weekend, achieving a 3-3-1 record through the first 7 games was very impressive. It’s rare for any club to face 5 straight road matches, let alone 5 straight to start off the season. After the first 7 matches, the Republic find themselves tied for third place.

The Republic has a more experienced squad then most of the other squads in the USL PRO. The team is loaded with quite a few veteran players that have competed in top flight soccer. Most impressively, multiple players on the Republic have logged years playing in MLS: Team captain and midfielder Rodrigo Lopez, forward Mike Fucito, striker Justin Braun and goalkeeper Jake Gleeson.

The first couple matches of the season saw on-loan player Fucito and Braun up front and both made the best of the opportunity. Their contrasting styles made for an aggressive front tandem. Fucito tended to play in a sharper attacking style. Braun on the other hand, has used his size in an intelligent manner that allowed him to protect the ball when it was booted in his direction. Braun used his first touch skills to keep defenders on the back foot by receiving passes quickly, turning and running towards the goal.

Mickey Daly has been huge in mid-field defensively, but he has also been very effective pushing forward as a late arriving attacker. Daly has linked up with Rodrigo Lopez frequently, allowing a majority of the Republic’s attacks to come of out the back.  This possessive style and the ability to press the ball directly through the middle, helps Lopez and the other midfielders move the ball out wide for the wings to dump those dangerous crosses into the box.

A few injures have certainly slowed the Republic’s progress during the first quarter of the season. Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson’s groin injury has been painful to not only himself but his team as well. Backup keeper, Dominik Jukubek, had adequately stepped up to the challenge, but the team is happy to see Jake’s return.

NEXT UP: May 14 – Sacramento Republic vs. Ventura County Fusion, Cosumnes River College Stadium, Sacramento, California. 10:30 p.m. EST, TBD.

Frankie DEVAI

Sierra College
Club Domestic:
Sac. Republic FC
Club Foreign:
FC Barcelona
Having a Brazilian father and German-American mother, Soccer is life. Lifelong passion, played in High School, but retired before college. I enjoy the game at all levels but am focused on Sacramento Republic. Lefty like Messi, except for the skills.