SRFC midfielder Sam Werner's 218 crosses was third-best in all of the USL Championship this season.
Republic FC (14-14-6, 48 pts) are postseason-bound for the sixth straight season and begin their playoff push against New Mexico United on Wednesday night at Papa Murphy’s Park in a single elimination play-in game.
If Simon Elliott’s men advance beyond the New Mexican club, a trip to second-seeded Reno 1868 on Saturday, October 26 at 5:30 p.m. PT is a lock.
The boys in Old Glory Red finished the regular season in seventh place in the Western Conference standings following a 3-0 loss in Utah to Real Monarchs. Sacramento had the better goal scoring opportunities to open the match but strikes from Kalen Ryden, Luke Mulholland and Douglas Martinez ensured all three points were headed to the hosts.
The recent loss shouldn’t cause any reason for concern, especially since over the last few weeks SRFC has responded positively when held scoreless in the previous match. Since late-July, four times has Republic FC been kept off the scoresheet but the boys in Old Glory Red responded well with three wins (netting 10 totals goals during that trio of matches), all of which were headlined by shutting out the opposition.
Even though Republic FC didn’t get the result they were hoping for against Monarchs, the Indomitable Club still finished the regular season with a tie for the third-best defense in the Western Conference after allowing only 43 goals all season. The boys in Old Glory Red also finished with the third-most clean sheets in the conference with 12 shutouts in league play.
SRFC forward Cameron Iwasa closed out the regular season with three goals in the last three games.
New Mexico United (11-10-13, 46 pts) snagged the tenth and final postseason spot after blanking Las Vegas Lights 2-0 in Albuquerque over the weekend. Chris Wehan gave the hosts the lead in the 37th minute and a Devon Sandoval strike in the 87th sealed New Mexico’s fate in the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs.
The hosts desperately needed the win over Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas side on Saturday, given the victory for New Mexico was the first time in six matches that United earned all three points. The shutout was the first time since early-May that the New Mexican club kept a clean sheet.
United, competing in their inaugural USL Championship campaign, are a possession-focused team that have completed the second-most passes in the conference (16,155) and the third-best passing accuracy rate of 82%. United also boasts an impressive shot conversion rate of 17%, tied for third-best in the West.
New Mexico’s possession and precision passing results in plenty of goal scoring opportunities for the club from Albuquerque. Leading the team in goals with 14 is Kevaughn Frater who started the season red hot with 10 goals from 11 matches but his form has since faded as he’s currently experiencing a 10-game goalless drought. Frater is also a wildcard on the pitch and is tied for the most yellow cards in the league with a dozen. Devon Sandoval (12), Santi Moar (11), and Christopher Wehan (10) are the dangerous trio alongside Frater who also tallied double digit goals this season.
The Indomitable Club and New Mexico United split the season series with both sides claiming a road win. The last time these two clubs clashed was a 2-1 win for United at Papa Murphy’s Park back in late-July when an 89th minute Daniel Bruce strike was ultimately the difference in the match. Sam Werner equalized in the 75th minute after the visitors had taken an early lead in the 10th minute through Chris Wehan.
When the boys in Old Glory Red traveled to Albuquerque, Simon Elliott’s men dealt United their first-ever loss at home following a 3-0 win in early-June. Cameron Iwasa, whose 16 goals this season is currently tied for sixth-best in all of the USL, bagged a brace and defender Matt Mahoney added another to round out the win for the visitors.
New Mexico United has a pair of former Republic FC players including defender Justin Schmidt who made 17 starts with the Indomitable Club in 2018. United midfielder David Estrada made 18 appearances for Sacramento in 2015 and scored three goals during his time with the club.
Wednesday’s playoff match will be broadcast live on KQCA My58, Estrella TV Sacramento (Spanish) and ESPN+ (online). Updates online will also be provided via Twitter at @SacRepublicFC or by following #SACvNM. To see more matchday information, visit SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide
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