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Match Preview: Sacramento Republic FC vs Oklahoma City Energy FC

By Eddie Ralph, 04/10/17, 11:00AM PDT

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April 11, 2017; 5:30 p.m. PDT Kickoff

Sacramento Republic FC (3-0-0) make the short trip west on I-44 to take on Oklahoma City Energy FC (0-2-1) on Tuesday, Apr. 11. Kickoff is 5:30 p.m. PT at Taft Stadium.  The match will be broadcast live on ESPN3.  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 Oklahoma City Energy FC this season.  Republic FC defeated Energy FC 1-0 on Aug. 2, 2016 in the only matchup between the two clubs last season.  Republic FC is 4-3-0 all-time against Energy FC, but has struggled on the road winning just once in four matches in Oklahoma City.

Republic FC have begun the season on a three-match win streak and have placed themselves squarely atop the USL Western Conference table after defeating Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2-1 on Apr. 8. Saturday’s win pushed Republic FC’s USL regular season undefeated streak to 14 consecutive matches.  The streak is the longest in Republic FC history.

Forwards Wilson Kneeshaw and Sammy Ochoa combined again for a goal against Roughnecks FC on Saturday.  Kneeshaw and Ochoa have combined for six of Republic FC’s eight goals this season.  Ochoa leads the club in both goals and assists, with three and two respectively, while Kneeshaw is hot on his heels with two goals and an assist on the season. 

Midfielder Danny Barrera has also been a large part of Republic FC’s attack this season. Barrera again led Republic FC in chances created with four against Roughnecks FC on Saturday.  The midfielder has now created 12 chances this season, which leads the USL Western Conference and is tied for most in the USL with Michael Nanchoff of  the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Republic FC defender Elliott Hord is fourth in the Western Conference with eight chances created so far this season.

Republic FC’s defense continued their strong start to the season on Saturday.  The defense has allowed just two goals in three USL matches.  Two main stays in Republic FC’s defense, James Kiffe and Emrah Klimenta both passed major milestones on Saturday.  Kiffe joined Klimenta and former midfielder Octavio Guzman as the only players in Republic FC history to appear in over 60 USL matches for the club. Klimenta made his 90th overall appearance with the club on Saturday, becoming the first player in Republic FC history to achieve that feat.

Energy FC enter the match following a 1-0 loss to Rio Grande Valley FC Toros on Saturday, Apr. 8.  The Toros scored their lone goal in the match on a penalty kick in the 67th minute.  The match had three red cards shown, including two against Energy FC.  Midfielders Richard Dixon and José Barril will both be suspended against Republic FC as a result. Barril is Energy FC’s leader in assists and the midfielders have combined to create nine of the club’s 24 chances on goal this season.

Defense has been the key for Energy FC this season, despite only picking up one point in three matches.  The club has allowed just two goals in their last two matches, one of which came from a penalty.  One larger part of their defense is former Republic FC defender Mickey Daly who will be facing his former team for the first time since he left the club following the 2015 season.  Daly is third all-time in Republic FC history in USL minutes (4,593) and is fourth all-time for USL appearances (53) and starts (52).

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 broadcast live on ESPN3. Updates of the match will be provided via Twitter @SacRepublicFC or using #OKCvSAC.