Western Conference leading Republic FC hit the road again this week, traveling to the Southwest for a meeting with New Mexico United. It’s the first contest between the two sides this season, as well as the first since last year’s meeting in the USL Championship playoffs. Each club enters the contest on a four-match unbeaten run.
At a Glance: #SACvNM
- 6:00 p.m. PT kickoff
- Isotopes Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Watch: Antenna TV 40.2, FOX40.com and the FOX40 News Mobile App, ESPN+
Republic FC – The Latest
The Quails extended their unbeaten streak to four matches last Saturday night in a come-from-behind effort against Memphis 901 FC. After a tough first half, the club found a spark in the second half before equalizing with just three minutes remaining. Russell Cicerone put a Keko cross over the line for his tenth score this season, moving him back into a share of the top spot for the league’s golden boot.
Know Your Opponent
In June, New Mexico made a change at the helm, replacing Head Coach Zach Prince with Eric Quill – formerly of Columbus Crew and 2019 USL League One Champion North Texas SC. The club has responded with unbeaten results in five of its last six and enters this week on a four-match unbeaten run that includes two clean sheets. Quill inherited the league’s most efficient side on the attack – entering the match, New Mexico has posted a league-best 21% conversion rate, and ranks in the top-10 in scoring.
The club has been busy on the transaction wire of late. On Monday, the club announced the signing of Colombian forward Isaac Zuleta, and last Friday, brought on midfielder Jacobo Reyes from Liga MX side C.F. Monterrey. Former San Antonio FC man Nicky Hernandez joined the club late in June on a 25-day contract.
Players to Watch
Few active players in the league have faced Sacramento more often than midfielder Santi Moar. In 11 contests against the Quails spanning his stints with New Mexico and Phoenix Rising, the Spaniard has tallied one goal and three assists. Moar has scored and assisted twice so far this season.
Off the bench last week against Memphis, Keko changed the game for Republic FC. The Spaniard scored each time he faced New Mexico last season – netting an equalizer on August 3 in Albuquerque, and the game-sealing score in October in the two sides first-round playoff meeting. Last week, in tandem with Aldair Sanchez on the left flank, he created two chances as Sacramento pushed for the equalizer.
Head to Head
The all-time fixture between Sacramento and New Mexico has been one of the most competitive in the league since the Albuquerque club’s first season. Sacramento has recorded a 4-1-1 record all time and outscored the club 10-4 – but only twice has a match been decided by more than one goal. The club is a perfect 2-0 at Isotopes Park.
Last season, the two sides played three contests, two in Sacramento and one in Albuquerque. In May, points were shared in a scoreless draw. In August, Sacramento took a come-from-behind road win in a 2-1 result as Keko and Douglas Martinez each found the net. Rodrigo Lopez assisted each score – moving him into the top spot on the club’s all-time assists leaderboard. Sacramento and New Mexico met again in the Conference Quarterfinal Round of the USL Championship Playoffs, where Republic FC took a 2-0 victory.