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Match Preview: Sacramento Republic FC vs Real Monarchs SLC

By Eddie Ralph, 10/19/17, 10:30AM PDT

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October 20, 2017; 7:00 p.m. PDT Kickoff

Sacramento Republic FC (13-12-7) begin their 2017 USL Cup Playoff campaign when they travel to Utah to take on Real Monarchs SLC (20-5-7) on Friday, Oct. 20. Kickoff is 7:00 p.m. PT at Rio Tinto Stadium. The match will be streamed live at SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide. Republic FC are hosting watch parties at SacTown Sports Bar in Old Sac, The Brass Tap in Rocklin and Bull Wings Bar and Grill in Elk Grove.

The Monarchs won the regular season series, winning 2-0 in Utah on May 13 and then 2-0 at Papa Murphy’s Park on Sept. 27.  The all-time series is fairly balanced, with Republic FC holding a 2-4-3 record against Real Monarchs in nine matchups. 

Historically, Republic FC hold a 3-2 record all-time in playoff matches.  They have scored at least two goals in three of their five all-time playoff matches and have been to penalties just once, last season against Orange County Blues FC (now Orange County SC) on Oct. 1, 2016. Republic FC averages 1.8 goals per match in the playoffs, while allowing just 0.8 goals per playoff match and recording two shutouts.

Republic FC come into the match after a 2-2 draw with Reno 1868 FC on Saturday, Oct. 14.  Forward Sammy Ochoa scored a brace and Evan Newton recorded seven saves to earn a result for Republic FC at a very difficult place to do so, Greater Nevada Field

The brace was the second of the season for Ochoa, who leads Republic FC with eight goals on the season. Ochoa also recorded six assists on the season, which is tied with James Kiffe for the club lead. Ochoa has scored eight or more goals and led his club in scoring in each of the last three seasons.

Kiffe recorded the assist on Ochoa’s first goal.  The assist was Kiffe’s sixth on the season and a new career-high for the defender.  Kiffe also played every available minute in the 2017 USL season, completing the feat never previously achieved by a Republic FC player.  The defender also leads the USL in crosses (257) and is fourth in chances created (61).

Midfielder Jeremy Hall was another iron man for Republic FC, playing all but 90 minutes of the 2017 USL season.  Hall’s only missed game came on Aug. 23 when he was suspended for caution accumulation.  Hall was an important part of Republic FC, playing at least three different positions, scoring two goals and recording an assist.  The midfielder also led the USL in passes with 2,148, over 400 more then the second player in the league.  In fact, Hall completed more passes (1,890) than Matt LaGrassa, the league’s second highest passer, attempted (1,720).

The Monarchs have never played a USL Cup playoff match in their history.  Prior to this season, they had not finished higher then 11th place and had a combined record of 17-27-14. 

Chandler Hoffman has arguably been the Monarchs and possibly even the USL MVP this season. The forward scored a team-leading 16 goals, while recording seven assists, second-most on the club. Hoffman has been a force in the USL since 2014, scoring 50 goals and recording 12 assists in over 90 career USL appearances for Real Monarchs, Louisville City FC, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and LA Galaxy II. Hoffman has three goals and two assists in six career matches against Republic FC.

Sebastian Velasquez has also been an important player for the Monarchs.  The Colombian midfielder scored nine goals and recorded six assists on the season, coming in second and third respectively in each category.  Velasquez also created 38 chances, second-most on the club. Velasquez previously played with the Monarchs’ MLS parent club, Real Salt Lake, New York City FC (MLS) and Rayo OKC (NASL).

Republic FC will host three official watch parties at SacTown Sports Bar in Old Sacramento, The Brass Tap in Rocklin and Bull Wings Bar and Grill in Elk Grove. SacTown Sports Bar is located at 106 J St., The Brass Tap is located at 5150 Commons Dr. in Rocklin and Bull Wings is located at 9625 E Stockton Blvd. in Elk Grove.  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 also be provided via Twitter @SacRepublicFC or using #SLCvSAC or #USLPlayoffs.