Republic FC return to action Saturday with a rematch of the 2023 season opener against El Paso Locomotive FC, this time on home turf. Sacramento returns to the pitch for the first time in two weeks, after big derby victory capped off a busy three game run.
At a Glance: #SACvELP
- 7:00 PM PT Kickoff
- Heart Health Park, Sacramento, California
- Watch: Antenna TV 40.2, FOX40.com and the FOX40 News Mobile App, ESPN+
- Theme Night: Noche Latina Powered by SMUD
Republic FC – The Latest
After a lengthy road trip and a special night at Hughes Stadium, Republic FC plays its first game at Heart Health Park since July 26. Republic FC has only dropped points twice at home this season. The Indomitable Club will have four more opportunities out of the last six season matches to take advantage of the incredible support at Heart Health Park. A bye week provided extra time to recover and return to full strength before the final run to close out the season. Entering the contest, the club remains in the top spot in the Western Conference with 51 points.
Know Your Opponent
El Paso visits the River City on an upswing. After a tough stretch in July and August, Locomotive claimed a victory over Hartford Athletic on August 26, and last week ended Orange County SC’s eight-game winning run by holding the SoCal club scoreless and returning home with a share of the points. Before Saturday’s showdown, El Paso stopped in the desert for a midweek matchup with Las Vegas Lights FC.
The club has added some additional pieces as they look to make a run down the stretch. On August 18, Locomotive FC added forward Petur Knudsen to its attacking corps. On August 25, Noah Dollenmayer joined on loan from LAFC, and a week later, El Paso signed attacking midfielder Arun Basuljevic, previously of Monterey Bay F.C.
Players to Watch
Dollenmayer has been strong for Locomotive FC since his move to Texas. The club has tallied two clean sheets since inserting him in their starting XI at center back. On the other end, forward Petar Petrovic has been in good form, scoring or assisting in three straight contests between August 19 and September 2. The Swede has moved into more of a featured role in the absence of leading scorer Luis Solignac, who has been out with an injury since August 19.
Rodrigo Lopez continues to make strides in his return. During the recent three matches in 10-day stretch, Lopez has come off the bench to add a spark. In his second match back, he assisted a late score on August 30 against Phoenix Rising FC. Against El Paso, Lopez has three career scores, including the opening goal from the penalty spot in the 2022 Home Opener win.
Republic FC enters Saturday’s match with victories over Locomotive FC in two of three meetings dating to last season. On opening night in March, Sacramento claimed a 1-0 victory to kick off 2023 at Southwest University Park – the club’s first away win against El Paso all-time. The last time the two squads met in Sacramento came on opening night in 2022, when Republic FC came from behind to secure a victory with less than 10 minutes to go. Across seven meetings since 2019, El Paso has claimed victory five times, with Sacramento taking three points twice.