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Match Preview: Sacramento Republic FC vs Tulsa Roughnecks FC

By Eddie Ralph, 04/07/17, 10:00AM PDT

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April 8, 2017; 5:00 p.m. PDT Kickoff

 Sacramento Republic FC begin a three-match road stretch when they travel to Oklahoma to take on Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Saturday, Apr. 8.  Kickoff is 5 p.m. PT.  The match will be streamed live at SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide.  Republic FC will be holding their official watch party at SacTown Sports Bar in Old Sacramento.

The match is the first of two matches between Republic FC and Roughnecks FC this season.  Republic FC won the only matchup between the two clubs in 2016, a 4-0 victory in the final regular season match of the season on Sept. 24. Republic FC has won each of the three all-time matchups between the two clubs.

Republic FC extended their record unbeaten streak to 13 consecutive USL regular season matches with their 4-0 win over Orange County SC on Saturday, Apr. 1.  The streak is the longest in Republic FC history and dates back to a scoreless draw against Rio Grande Valley FC on July 30, 2016.

Forward Sammy Ochoa played a big role in Republic FC’s win for a second straight week.  Ochoa scored his first brace with Republic FC, pushing his league-leading goal total to three on the season. The forward will face his former club, Roughnecks FC, for the first time on Saturday.  Ochoa led the Roughnecks in scoring in each of the last two seasons, scoring 20 goals and adding nine assists in two seasons in Tulsa.

Ochoa and fellow forward Wilson Kneeshaw were named to the USL Team of the Week for their performances against Orange County SC. Kneeshaw made the most of his first start of the 2017 season, scoring a goal and adding an assist.  The forward also set up Ochoa’s first goal of the match.  Kneeshaw now has four goals in just 233 minutes as a member of Republic FC, an average of one goal every 58 minutes.  The only player in Republic FC history to average less minutes per USL goal is Ochoa who, as a Republic FC player, averages a goal every 57 minutes.

Republic FC’s defense recorded their first shutout of the 2017 season on Saturday.  In 2016, Republic FC’s defense recorded 12 shutouts, the most of any Republic FC team.  The defense was among the best in the USL, allowing just 27 goals in 30 USL matches in 2016.

Roughnecks FC come into the match with a record of 1-1-0 after defeating Rio Grande Valley FC Toros 1-0 on Apr. 1.  Roughnecks FC were forced to forfeit their season opening victory over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, giving them their only loss of the season.

Former Republic FC midfielder Joaquin Rivas will face his former team for the first time on Saturday.  Rivas appeared in 32 matches in all competitions, including 19 USL appearances, in two seasons for Republic FC, scoring a goal and adding an assist.  Rivas has started both of Roughnecks FC’s matches this season, playing all but two possible minutes.

Roughnecks FC goalkeeper Bryan Byars recorded his first shutout of the season against Rio Grande Valley.  Byars made eight saves on his way to the shutout and currently has the fifth most saves of any USL goalkeeper despite only getting credit for the saves against Rio Grande Valley FC.­

Republic FC will host their official watch party at SacTown Sports Bar in Old Sacramento. SacTown Sports Bar is located at 106 J St.  Fans are encouraged to arrive early for best seating.  The match will be streamed live at SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide. Updates of the match will be provided via Twitter @SacRepublicFC or using #TULvSAC