Republic FC (5-5-2, 17 pts) arrive in New Mexico following back-to-back wins against Fresno FC (2019 U.S. Open Cup) and San Antonio FC (league play) last week. Midfielder Sam Werner continued his recent form and was influential in both encounters, assisting Stefano Bonomo with the game-winner against the Foxes midweek and then creating the play that led to a San Antonio own goal before rifling home a goal of his own. His performance against the Texan side earned the former Stanford Cardinal a USL Championship Team of the Week selection.
Another positive out of the encounter against San Antonio was the return of Villyan Bijev to the starting XI after being sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained in April. That said, there will likely be changes to Sacramento’s lineup against New Mexico United due to other absences. Defender Dekel Keinan is out due to suspension from yellow card accumulation, while midfielder Keven Aleman and forward Tyler Blackwood are out as they recover from a shoulder injury and rib injury, respectively. Defender Mitchell Taintor is questionable after missing the match against San Antonio due to a right adductor injury.
New Mexico United (6-1-7, 25 pts) host Republic FC after drawing 2-2 on the road against Orange County SC midweek. The expansion side is off to a flying start in its inaugural season, having lost just once this year, a 2-1 defeat against Reno 1868 FC back in April. Offensively, New Mexico United has been firing on all cylinders thanks to forward Kevaughn Frater. The Jamaican leads the team with 10 goals from 12 appearances this season, while contributing three assists. On the other end of the pitch, goalkeeper Cody Mizell is second in the league in saves, just one below OKC’s Cody Laurendi who leads the rankings with 47.
Sacramento fans will also notice a familiar face when the teams take the field, as former Republic FC defender Justin Schmidt now plies his trade with the southwestern side. Schmidt made 21 appearances, 17 as starts, during his lone season in Sacramento last year.
This is the first-ever encounter between the two sides.
Saturday’s match will be broadcast live on KQCA My50, Estrella TV Sacramento and ESPN+. Updates online will also be provided via Twitter at @SacRepublicFC or by following #NMvSAC. To see more matchday information, visit SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide.
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