Photo Courtesy of San Francisco Deltas
Sacramento Republic FC head to San Francisco for their last preseason road friendly this Saturday, Mar. 18 as they face the San Francisco Deltas. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Republic FC will be the first team in club history that the Deltas host at Kezar Stadium.
Ahead of Saturday’s match, get to know Republic FC’s opponent.
Marc Dos Santos returned to NASL this season after spending 2016 coaching USL Western Conference club Swope Park Rangers. Dos Santos and Swope Park reached the USL Championship but fell just short of winning the title, falling to New York Red Bulls II. The Deltas are the third consecutive club where Dos Santos has taken over Head Coach duties in a club's inaugural season, having been the first head coach in club history at both Ottawa Fury FC and Swope Park.
In 2015, Dos Santos led the NASL’s Ottawa Fury FC to the 2015 NASL Fall Championship, before dropping the NASL Soccer Bowl to the New York Cosmos. Despite falling just short of capturing the NASL Championship, Dos Santos was named the 2015 NASL Coach of the Year.
In 2009, before the club made the jump to MLS, Dos Santos also led Montreal Impact to the United Soccer Leagues First Division Championship and also secured a spot for the club in the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League.
Dos Santos holds dual Canadian and Portuguese citizenship, and is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Similar to Reno 1868 FC in the USL, the Deltas have had to build their roster from scratch as they head into their first season in the NASL. As of February 22, San Francisco have 21 players signed to their official roster. The last two transactions the Deltas made were the additions of goalkeeper Alex Mangels and defender Andrew Lubahn.
Mangels spent last season in goal for Tulsa Roughnecks FC in the USL Western Conference. Mangels impressed in his first match with the Roughnecks, earning a shutout with a personal season-high record of 12 saves to help Tulsa to a 2-0 win over Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. Overall, Mangels finished the season with a save percentage of .782 in 26 matches played.
Lubahn joins the Deltas from USL Eastern Conference club Louisville City FC. While with Louisville, Lubahn recorded 1163 minutes throughout the entire season. Lubahn also recorded three goals and an assist for Louisville City. Collegiately, Lubahn played at Wake Forest University between 2010 and 2013 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), where he earned several conference accolades, including Second Team All-ACC in 2010.
Goalkeeper Romuald Peiser is reuniting with dos Santos, who he won the NASL 2015 Fall Championship under while at Ottawa Fury. That same year, Peiser won the NASL Golden Glove after a stellar year with Ottawa Fury FC. The Deltas are only the second American club where Peiser has played in his career, having spent most of his career in Europe.
Midfielder Cristian Portilla also brings a wealth of experience, having spent several years playing across various leagues in Europe. Portilla started his career at Spanish club Racing Santander for three seasons before going on loan for two seasons. Portilla returned to Spain's first division in 2009, playing for Sporting Gijon before going on to play in the Greek Superleague and Hungrarian Nemzeti Bajnokság, among others.
Joining Portilla in the midfield will be Bryan Burke. Burke arrives with the Deltas after spending the 2016 season with the Jacksonville Armada, also in the NASL. Prior to playing in the NASL, Burke spent the 2015 season with Louisville City in the USL Eastern Conference during the club’s inaugural season. Burke had a standout season with Louisville, earning USL All League First Team honors as well as being named USL Defender of the Year. Burke also led the league in assists with 10 on the season. This is not the first time Burke will call San Francisco home, having played for the University of San Francisco during college.
Defender Nana Attakora brings with him a wealth of MLS experience, having spent more than five years in the league. While playing in the MLS, Attakora spent the majority of his time with Toronto FC, playing with the club from 2009-2011. He went on to play with the San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United before moving to the NASL. While playing in the NASL, Attakora suited up for the San Antonio Scorpions and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers before signing with the San Francisco Earthquakes. A native of Ontario, Attakora has represented Canada on the international stage from the U-16 ranks all the way up to the senior team.
The Deltas will play their home matches at Kezar Stadium, a historic stadium located in Golden Gate Park. The stadium has previously served as the home of such teams as the San Francisco 49ers, and the Oakland Raiders, as well as the now defunct Major League Lacrosse team San Francisco Dragons. Republic FC last played at Kezar Stadium during the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against the San Jose Earthquakes on June 11, 2014.
Saturday’s match between Sacramento Republic FC and the San Francisco Deltas will kick off at 7 p.m. at Kezar Stadium. The match will be streamed and details will be released shortly. There will also be live updates via Twitter @SacRepublicFC and using #SFvSAC.