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Match Preview: Sacramento Republic FC vs Seattle Sounders FC 2

By Eddie Ralph, 07/21/17, 6:15PM PDT

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July 23, 2017; 8:00 p.m. PDT Kickoff

Sacramento Republic FC return to USL play when they host Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Sunday, July 23.  Kickoff is 8 p.m. at Papa Murphy’s Park.  The match will be broadcast on CW31 and Sports 1140 KHTK. Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.com.

The match is the third and final meeting between Republic FC and S2 this season.  Republic FC has a slight advantage in the season series, winning the first match 2-1 on Mar. 26 before the two drew 2-2 on May 28.  Both of the previous meetings this season were hosted at S2’s home field, Starfire Sports Complex. This will be the first and only match between the two at Papa Murphy’s Park.

Republic FC return to USL play after over three weeks off, having played their last USL match on Saturday Jul. 1, a 1-1 draw with San Antonio FC.  Republic FC are currently on a four-match USL undefeated streak, their longest such streak of the season. 

Republic FC have seen an uptick in their offensive performance during their unbeaten run, scoring 12 goals in their last four matches, including a six-goal performance against Rio Grande Valley FC Toros.  A large part of this scoring comes from the forward pairing of Trevin Caesar and Wilson Kneeshaw, who have combined for five goals and five assists during the undefeated streak.

Caesar’s four goals, including the club’s second-ever USL hat trick, and two assists have moved the forward into a tie with forward Sammy Ochoa for the club lead in goals and just two assist away from the club lead in assists.  Caesar now averages a goal every 134 USL minutes played, the best rate in the club.

Kneeshaw has recorded three assists and one goal in the last four matches.  Kneeshaw is tied with midfielder Danny Barrera for the club lead in assists, having recorded four on the season.  Kneeshaw has now scored six goals and recorded four assists in just 19 USL matches for Republic FC.

Republic FC’s youngest-ever signing Roberto Hategan made his Republic FC debut against CF Pachuca on Saturday, Jul. 15. The 16-year-old started and played 45 minutes against the Liga MX club, becoming the youngest player to make an appearance for Republic FC at just 16 years, 81 days old.  The previous youngest player was midfielder Gabe Gissie, who made his debut on April 19, 2014, against Arizona United SC (now Phoenix Rising FC), at 17 years, 149 days old.  

S2 come into the match on a three-match losing streak after falling 2-0 to Swope Park Rangers on Jul. 20.  S2 have been outscored 8-2 during the losing streak, which includes losses to the Rangers, Real Monarchs SLC and Orange County SC.

Forward Zach Mathers has been an important part of S2’s attack this season.  Mathers leads the club in both goals (6) and chances created (23) and is tied for third on the club in assists (2).  Mathers was selected 35th overall by the Sounders in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft after starring for four seasons at Duke.

S2 signed 16-year-old academy product Azriel Gonzalez to a professional contract on Jul. 17, 2017.  The midfielder was born on May 24, 2001, just two days before Republic FC’s youngest signing Hategan.  Interestingly enough, both players spent time with the U-16 U.S. Boys National Team, although never playing together.  Gonzalez scored 11 goals in 19 appearances for Sounders FC U-16 Academy this season.

The match will be broadcast on CW31 and Sports 1140 KHTK.  The match will also be streamed live at SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide and in the USL Match Center. Updates of the match will be also be provided via Twitter @SacRepublicFC or using #SACvSEA.