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Match Preview: Sacramento Republic FC vs Swope Park Rangers

By Eddie Ralph, 04/14/17, 10:00AM PDT

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April 15, 2017; 5:00 p.m. PDT Kickoff

Sacramento Republic FC (3-1-0) complete their three-match road stretch when they take on Swope Park Rangers (2-0-0) on Saturday, Apr. 15. Kickoff is 5 p.m. PT at Children’s Mercy Victory Field.  The match will be broadcast live on CW31

The match will be the second-ever meeting between Republic FC and the Rangers and the first of two meetings between the clubs this season.  Republic FC and the Rangers played to a 1-1 draw in their first meeting on May 28, 2016. The match will also be a matchup of the 2016 Western Conference Regular Season Champions and the 2016 Western Conference Champions as Swope Park won the Western Conference Championship in 2016 before losing to New York Red Bulls II in the USL Cup.

Republic FC suffered their first loss of the season on Tuesday, Apr. 11 when they fell 1-0 to Oklahoma City Energy FC. This was the club's first USL regular season loss since their 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on July 24, 2016, a stretch of 14 consecutive matches unbeaten, a Republic FC record.  Despite the loss on Tuesday, Republic FC have had success recently on the road, losing just once in their last eight road matches.

Despite being shutout on Tuesday, Republic FC have been very dangerous offensively in 2017; scoring eight goals, second most of any club in the USL this season.  This is the third year that Republic FC have scored eight or more goals through the first four matches of the season. Forwards Sammy Ochoa, Wilson Kneeshaw, Tyler Blackwood and Harry Williams have combined for seven goals and four assists so far this season with Ochoa leading the club in both goals and assists, with three and two respectively.

Republic FC will be without Chris Christian on Saturday as the defender received the club’s first red card of the season after drawing two yellow cards against Energy FC.  The red card was Republic FC’s tenth red card all-time in USL play and their third in Oklahoma City. Christian will be eligible for selection again in Republic FC’s home match on Apr. 22.

The Swope Park Rangers come into the match undefeated so far in the young season.  The Rangers are also carrying a seven-match win streak at home dating back to Sept. 10, 2016.  During that time the Rangers have outscored their opponents 17-2.  

Forward Kharlton Belmar joined the Rangers from Portland Timbers 2 where he played the 2015 and 2016 seasons.  Belmar has started the season strong, scoring two of the Rangers’ four goals this season.  The forward scored 15 goals and added six assists in two seasons with T2 and was the 2015 USL Rookie of the year.

Forward Cameron Iwasa has joined the Rangers on loan from their parent club, Sporting Kansas City, and will play against Republic FC for the first time since leaving the club during the offseason.  Iwasa appeared in 60 matches for Republic FC in all competitions, including 46 USL matches.  Iwasa scored 13 USL goals and added four assists in two seasons with Republic FC, leading the club in goals with 12 in 2016.  

The match will be broadcast live on CW31 and streamed live on SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide. The broadcast on CW31 will be Republic FC’s first road match broadcast on local TV and will feature the commentary of  Republic FC’s Rob McAllister and Kevin Goldthwaite.  Updates of the match will be also be provided via Twitter @SacRepublicFC or using #SPRvSAC.