Sacramento Republic FC v. Monterey Bay Preview: Will Sacramento Extend Unbeaten Streak?
Unbeaten in their last five matches, Sacramento Republic FC take on their NorCal rivals, Monterey Bay FC, for the third and final time this season Saturday night.
The Quails have been on a tear since their dramatic U.S. Open Cup Semifinal win last month, winning two out of their last three matches, collecting seven points out of the available nine. Sacramento left it late last weekend against Rio Grande Valley Toros, falling behind, 0-1, in the 53rd minute. Luckily, the Indomitable Club has the biggest X-factor of them all in captain Rodrigo López, coming up with the equalizer in the 90th minute to keep the team’s unbeaten run alive.
While the boys may be upset to not come away with all three points at home, head coach Mark Briggs is proud of his squad, playing with adversity and perseverance in this tight run of matches recently.
“I said to the guys on Monday when we reported back, everyone was disappointed that we obviously didn’t get the three points at home on Saturday night, but I said to them, ‘guys, you traveled cross country to Charleston, you traveled a portion to New Mexico, and then you came home.’ And if you just said to us at the start of the week, you’ll get seven points from nine we’d have all took it and that’s what we achieved,” Briggs said after Thursday’s training.
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Handling A Hectic Schedule
While the Republic has had a hectic schedule over the last few weeks, the club is enjoying being home for an extended amount of training, able to adapt and strategize accordingly.
“It’s been nice to actually have a normal week of training, although it’s only one week and then we’re back to three games a week,” Briggs said. “But it’s been nice to actually get the guys on the training field and do some proper work and go through some things that we haven’t been able to really train and really adapt and try and improve things on the training field.”
On the flip side, Monterey have gone on a little run of form as well, only conceding one goal in their last six matches. On a short week and coming off a loss to the San Diego Loyal, the Union is not a club to take lightly in this derby matchup. Newcomer to the club, centre-back Josh Bauer, is aware of the threat they possess but feels that this might be the time for them to slip up once again.
“They’re definitely good in transition, they are athletic and can get after us a little bit, if we’re not disciplined and tuned into that. But at the same time, I think they leave themselves exposed when they get forward and push a lot of bodies. So I think if we can nick the first pass or take them out in transition and go the other way, I think we’ll have a lot of success going forward. But it’s just going to be dealing with some of their early pressure and their initial press and then breaking those first lines and, you know, hopefully open opening things up in the midfield and forward for us,” Bauer said Thursday.
What To Expect From Monterey
The Republic is 2-0 against Monterey this season. Briggs is looking for more consistency from his squad in the last match, hoping to be on the front foot, rather than the back foot in Monterey.
“We’ve just got to be more consistent,” Briggs explained. “When we’re in possession of the ball, sometimes we’re too eager to go forward when it’s not the right moment to go forward, which then results in a loss of possession. Then in those moments, we’re stretched, which causes us problems in transition. So we’ve just got to be better in retaining the ball. Because when you retain the ball and you connect passes, it enables our team to be more compact and more connected, which in return, if we lose the possession of the ball, then we’re closer to put counter-press and put pressure on the ball. So we’ve got to be a little bit better in those moments, and the group are working towards that.”
“RoRo” was seen doing light work off to the side of training Thursday. But rest assured Republic fans, the team captain, and the entire squad, is fit and available for Saturday’s match.
“RoRo at heart is still a 21-year-old kid and he wants to train all the time and he wants to do everything at the highest intensity possible. But we just have to manage him and make sure that he’s fresh for games. As with all of our players, they have to be managed and have to be fresh for game day,” Briggs stated.
The Quails come into Saturday’s contest in fifth place in the western conference standings at 37 points. Their opposition still has some climbing to do in the standings, currently at 12th with 26 points.
The match at Cardinale Stadium kicks off at 7 p.m. Fans can watch the game on Antenna TV 40.2, the FOX40 News mobile app and FOX40.com, as well as ESPN+.