Sacramento Republic FC v. Las Vegas Lights Preview
Off the heels of one of their most complete matches of the season, Sacramento Republic FC play their third match in eight days, traveling to Nevada to take on Las Vegas Lights FC Saturday.
The Republic put in one of their best performances of the 2022 season Wednesday night, thumping Colorado Springs Switchbacks 3-0, scoring all three in the first half. Sacramento could have scored more frankly, but a Rodrigo López saved penalty and other chances couldn’t find the mark after the halftime break. Nevertheless, the boys in old glory red showcased a hunger and desire that had been lacking at different points throughout the season.
“We came in with blood in our eyes because of what they did to us last time,” forward Maalique Foster said post-match Wednesday, referring to their 3-0 defeat in Colorado last month.
Th Indomitable Club will need to keep that same intensity Saturday night, facing a Las Vegas squad that is only six points behind them in the western conference standings.
About last night. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/oabubzRZa6
— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) August 18, 2022
The Lights are coming off a tough away match Wednesday as well, nabbing a point from Orange County in a 1-1 draw. While Las Vegas is the secondary team of MLS side Los Angeles FC, the team is full of MLS-caliber players, including striker Cal Jennings, scoring seven goals in 15 matches this season. Despite being winless in their last five matches, head coach Mark Briggs and his squad are very aware of Jennings and the entire young side the Lights possess.
“Yeah, very good team,” Briggs said Thursday before training. “They got a good result last night down in Orange County and Cal Jennings scored a goal again. They’ve got very good players, they’ve got MLS-caliber players. So we’ve got to continue where we left off last night, continue with that momentum and continue with that quality.”
That quality comes not only on offense but on defense as well, with Briggs pleased that his entire squad defended with purpose Wednesday night.
“From the number nine in Maalique to the goalkeeper in Danny Vitiello, we’re all on the same page, we’re all aggressive and we’re all extremely intense in winning the ball back in high areas. We didn’t give them any time to breathe, which enabled us to play quickly and move the ball how we wanna move it,” he explained.
— Danny Vitiello (@dannyvitiello_) August 18, 2022
That defensive effort led to the team’s first clean sheet since their Open Cup semifinal victory last month. The republic have endured a frustrating spell with the goals allowed over the last few weeks, hopeful that Wednesday’s performance can be turning point defensively.
“It’s been frustrating. I think we’ve given away two set piece goals which aren’t very like us, because we’ve been very good at set pieces this year,” centre-back Dan Casey said. Scoring three goals against them [Colorado Springs] and then keeping a clean sheet. So we’re happy with that and hopefully, we get a few more clean sheets…”
Saturday’s match will be the third in eight days for the Republic. But while the club expresses the difficulty in a congested schedule, Sacramento has a deep squad that if prepared properly, can get three points on any given night.
“Yeah, it’d be great. You know, three games in eight days is difficult. We’ve got to try and get another result. We know what we’re capable of doing in regards to going there and getting three points. But we’ve just got to understand it’s a difficult place to go. We’ve got to prepare properly, and try and keep the team as fresh as we can in order to get the points we want,” Briggs stated.
Kickoff from Cashman Field is set for 7:30 p.m. PST. The match will be broadcast live on Antenna TV 40.2, FOX40.com and the FOX40 News Mobile App, as well as streaming on ESPN+.