Republic FC (6-5-2, 20 pts) enter Saturday’s match looking to bounce back from their U.S. Open Cup elimination at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes last week. The 3-4 loss at Avaya Stadium saw Sacramento’s three-game win streak across all competitions come to a close.
Despite the unfavorable result, Republic FC had a strong showing against their former MLS affiliate. The Indomitable Club took an early lead just two minutes into the match when Sam Werner directed home a grounded Villyan Bijev cross from the right wing. The Earthquakes equalized in the 10th minute, but Bijev continued to cause problems for the hosts as the former Liverpool FC playmaker scored a perfectly placed free kick from the edge of the box four minutes later. The Quakes equalized again before halftime and scored twice in the second half, but despite being two goals down against an MLS club on the road, Simon Elliott’s men refused to give in. Drew Skundrich found the back of the net deep into extra time, but the gritty late-gasp goal was not enough and brought an end to Sacramento’s run in the tournament.
Prior to the seven-goal thriller in San Jose, the boys in Old Glory Red were on a two-game win streak in league play, headlined by a 3-0 victory over New Mexico United. The clean sheet against the expansion team in Albuquerque propelled Republic FC to eighth place in the Western Conference standings, but that wasn’t the only highlight from the road trip worth celebrating. With his brace against United, Cameron Iwasa earned USL Championship Team of the Week honors. This was the second TOTW selection of the season for the Sacramento native who elevated his goal-scoring tally on the season up to a team-high seven.
Roughnecks FC (4-6-5, 17 pts) travel to Papa Murphy’s Park on Saturday night looking to end an eight-game winless drought. Tulsa’s last victory was a 2-0 win over Colorado Springs Switchbacks on April 24 at home, and since that win nearly two months ago, the Roughnecks have been shut out four times and have lost their last three straight matches—their most recent was a 2-0 loss at home to El Paso Locomotive FC.
Not that it should hold much weight, but Tulsa has tasted victory away from home just once this season, a 5-3 win over Orange County in mid-March.
Despite Tulsa’s struggles to find the net at times this season, the Roughnecks do have a handful of players who can provide plenty of goal scoring opportunities. Defender Luca Lobo (7) and forward Janu Silva (5) have combined for 12 total goals this season, while midfielder Rodrigo da Costa’s seven assists is tied for second in the entire USL.
Though only three points separate Republic FC from the Roughnecks, both teams have recently been trending in two very different directions. As Republic FC continues to climb the Western Conference standings up to eighth-place, the opposite can be said for the Tulsa Roughnecks currently sitting in 14th-place. Life won’t get any easier for the visiting Tulsa side who have yet to ever beat Republic FC dating back to their first meeting in 2015.
It’s been a fairly one-sided rivalry between these two Western Conference opponents. Republic FC taking all three points in all but one contest. In seven matchups, the boys in Old Glory Red have won six, with the lone draw being a 1-1 tie at home last season.
Saturday's match will also be Republic FC' Pride Night. The annual event celebrates the local LGBTQ+ community that helps make Sacramento one of the most diverse and welcoming cities in the nation. Learn More >>
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 #SACvTUL. To see more matchday information, visit SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide.
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