SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC

Preview: Sacramento Republic host Colorado Rapids in Open Cup Round of 32

May 9, 2023, 7:00 AM

Nick Ross #19 of Sacramento Republic celebrates scoring a goal with Aldair Sanchez #40 of Sacrament...

SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 26: Nick Ross #19 of Sacramento Republic celebrates scoring a goal with Aldair Sanchez #40 of Sacramento Republic during a 2023 U.S. Open Cup third round game between Sacramento Republic and Oakland Roots at Heart Health Park on April 26, 2023 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Doug Zimmerman/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

(Photo by Doug Zimmerman/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Sacramento Republic FC will welcome their first MLS opponent of 2023 to Heart Health Park Tuesday, hosting the Colorado Rapids in the Round of 32 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Sacramento are the fresher of the two sides, coming off 10 days’ rest in the lead-up to Tuesday’s clash. The Quails last faced FC Tulsa in the USL Championship, securing a 1-1 draw on the round last month. Sacramento remains the only unbeaten team in the competition with a record of 5-0-3.

The Republic are one of eight remaining non-MLS sides in the Open Cup. So far in their 2023 campaign, Sacramento has defeated Crossfire Redmond of the National Premier Soccer League in a thrilling 5-4 victory, and USL rival Oakland Roots SC in a 1-0 grudge match.

The Rapids have had a less-than-inspiring start to the year, currently 12th in the MLS western conference. However, Colorado have had success in cup play, defeating Northern Colorado Hailstrom FC, 3-1, to kickoff their 2023 campaign.

Tuesday’s match will mark the third-straight road game for Colorado, playing in Vancouver and Southern California most recently.

Despite the rest advantage, the Republic know they have their work out for them Tuesday. Facing an MLS opponent is never easy, meaning they’ll need to be on their A-game to advance in the tournament.

“We’re obviously playing against an opponent that can hurt you in any phase of the game, in any moment. So we’ve got to make sure that we we understand everything that they may possibly do and understand the qualities that their players have,” head coach Mark Briggs said in the lead-up to the match. “And then also give our players that belief that we can compete with these guys and we can potentially beat these guys.”

Sacramento Republic FC has carried over their success from last season, currently first in the USL Championship western conference. Remaining unbeaten, the club expects to send the fans home happy Tuesday, despite playing higher-level opposition.

“We expect to put on a strong performance at home and we want to win the game. That’s the bottom line, it’s to move on [in the tournament],” Quails’ forward Russell Cicerone stated.

Quite familiar with the competition, the Quails made history in 2022, becoming the first non-MLS side to reach the cup final since 2008. Now looking for another deep run, the players and coaches hope Heart Health Park will show out for their club Tuesday night.

“We’ve got to make sure that the guys have belief when we turn up on Tuesday night, and the guys understand what they’re coming up against,” Briggs added. “And our supporters turn up and our supporters get behind us and our supporters make the atmospheres like [Golden 1 Center] was because it is a one-off game, like a playoff game.”

Kickoff from Heart Health Park is set for 7:30 p.m. PT. Tickets are on sale now at SacRepublicFC.com/tickets. The match will be available live on the B/R Football YouTube and B/R Football App, as well as on the radio at Sactown Sports 1140.

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