SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC

Sacramento Republic vs. Phoenix Rising Preview

Jul 23, 2022, 7:00 AM
Maciek Gudrymowicz/ISI Photos/Getty Images...
Maciek Gudrymowicz/ISI Photos/Getty Images

On the heels of the biggest match in club history, Sacramento Republic FC first travel to Arizona to take on Phoenix Rising FC Saturday.

After suffering their first home loss of the season, the Indomitable Club is looking to bounce back against an opponent they previously beat, 2-0, in the Round of 32 of the U.S. Open Cup on May 11. The Republic hold seven wins over the Rising while they’ve taken six victories in the all-time series. The clubs have also drawn seven times.

Obviously a loss wasn’t the result the team was looking for but there were a lot of positives to take away from the full 90 minutes last week, according to head coach Mark Briggs.

“When we analyze the game, I said ‘guys, from minute two to minute 94, it was actually quite good,'” Briggs said post-training Thursday. “A lot of the things that we worked on, and creating opportunities and their keepers made some big saves. So all the process was where we wanted it to be. Obviously, we can’t afford to start games and concede after 90 seconds. So other than the first two minutes, I was actually quite pleased with the performance. But we’ll learn from it.”

A bit of inconsistency has plagued the Quails since their perfect run of form in June, failing to score a single goal in two of the three July matches, something Briggs attributes to both being more clinical in the final third, and good defensive play from their opponents.

“Matt Van Oekel, the Birmingham goalkeeper, came up with five or six big saves. That’s part of football, right? Yes, we do have to be clinical, I agree with the people saying that we do have to be a little more ruthless, a little more clinical. And we all know that, we all understand that and we’re all working towards getting that result, getting that end goal,” Briggs said.

Sacramento Republic FC

And the players feel the same as the team continues to create chances in open play, hoping that a few more of those hit the back of the net this weekend.

“I mean, we played really well. And we just got to be a little more focused to start the games, I think. And we’re a talented team, that’s the biggest thing, and we have a great attitude. So it’s just staying on course, and not panicking and stuff like that and just staying true to ourselves,” defender Conor Donovan said.

“We’re getting a lot of chances,” forward Maalique Foster added. “So you know, once we get in a lot of times, we know we’re doing something good. So we just have to keep working on that and we’ll get a lot of success up top.”

Looking to their upcoming opponent, the Rising have struggled in the USL this season, currently winless since the end of May. Holding a record of 7-10-2, third lowest in the Western Conference, Saturday’s match presents itself as a tune-up game for the Republic heading into Wednesday’s open cup match, but Donovan thinks otherwise.

“They’re a really good team. And I know they’ve struggled a little bit in the standings but they have some really talented players. So all our focus is on that, but you gotta go game-to-game, that’s most important,” Donovan stated.

Regardless, three points would be massive for Sacramento Saturday, getting any bit of momentum going into the U.S. Open Cup semifinals against Sporting KC a few days later.

“It’d be great to go and get a bit of momentum against a very good team,” Briggs said. An away game, that’s a difficult place to go, an intimidating atmosphere and environment. So to be able to get a point, get three points, come away with something to give us that little bit of momentum going into a massive game on Wednesday.”

The Saturday’s match kicks off from Phoenix at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on Antenna TV 40.2,FOX40.com and the FOX40 App, and streaming live on ESPN+.

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