Republic FC were beaten during their last trip to Reno, 2-0, but the boys in Old Glory Red have never lost a knockout game to 1868 FC.
Republic FC (14-14-6, 48 pts) booked their trip to the 2019 USL Championship Western Conference Quarterfinals after Thomas Enevoldsen’s stunning volley sealed a 2-1 come-from-behind win against New Mexico United on Wednesday night at Papa Murphy’s Park in the opening round play-in game of the Championship Playoffs.
It took United all of 15 seconds to grab an early 1-0 lead through Devon Sandoval but the boys in Old Glory Red were able to answer just before the break by way of a Keven Aleman strike. Enevoldsen played a chip towards the back post that Drew Skundrich nodded back across the face of goal. The header fell to Aleman who buried his first goal of the season to level the match at 1-1.
The game-winner was an absolute stunner and came in the 82nd minute when winger Sam Werner delivered a pinpoint, towering cross from inside the halfway line that was perfectly placed on Enevoldsen’s foot. The Danish striker’s first touch was flawless as he fired his volley into the back of the net to send seventh-seeded Republic FC into a Quarterfinal showdown against regional rivals Reno. The goal was Enevoldsen’s fourth in six games and ninth in 13 matches since joining SRFC.
Republic FC defender Juan Barahona made his first start since returning to the club from international duty with the El Salvador Men’s National Team. The left back started matches for his country against Saint Lucia and Montserrat, both 2-0 victories.
The Indomitable Club finished the regular season tied for the third-best defense in the Western Conference, having only allowed 43 goals in league play all season. Sacramento also had the third-most clean sheets in the West with a dozen, tying this group with the 2016 and 2018 SRFC sides that also collected 12 shutouts during their respective USL campaigns. In all competitions this season, Republic FC racked up 14 clean sheets which is indeed a new club record.
Drew Skundrich has started the last 10 straight games in the SRFC midfield, a run dating back to early-September.
Reno 1868 FC (18-10-6, 60 pts) are fresh off their best season in club history and secured the second seed in Western Conference Championship Playoffs. 1868 FC also enters the postseason on a red hot run of form, having won five of their last seven matches including three consecutive shutouts which means they have not allowed a goal in the entire month of October.
Aside from Reno’s defensive dominance, the offense has been equally as difficult to handle. The Nevadan club scored the second-most goals in the West this season with 72, second only to Phoenix Rising FC. 1868 FC also took the second-most shots in the conference with 528. But one goal against Sacramento might not be enough, given the team is 0-5-2 when they bag just a single goal in a game this season. When up at halftime though, Reno is an impressive 11-1-1.
Much of the goal-scoring production is provided by Corey Hertzog whose 18 goals is a team-best and tied for third-best in the entire USL. Hertzog’s six assists are third-best on the club, behind only Raul Mendiola (8) and Seth Casiple (7). Mendiola was actually a former teammate of Republic FC midfielder Jaime Villarreal when the two spent time together with LA Galaxy.
This is the third time in the three seasons that Reno 1868 FC has made the postseason.
Jordan McCrary led all SRFC defenders in starts during league play this season with 27. The last time he wasn't in the starting eleven was a goalless draw on Aug. 7 against Las Vegas.
The Indomitable Club hasn’t had tremendous success against their regional rivals and this year was no different. Reno swept the regular season series and outscored Sacramento 6-1, including a 2-0 result when SRFC last visited in late-June. But Saturday’s game is different, as it’s the first-ever playoff match between the two clubs.
The boys in Old Glory Red did manage to knock out Reno in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup this season with a 1-0 win back in mid-May, and are 3-0 against the Nevadan club in knockout games. But when it comes to league play, historically, this derby has been very one-sided. The last time the Indomitable Club cruised into Reno and rolled out with a win was August of 2018.
A familiar face Sacramento supporters will recognize is current Reno defender Emrah Klimenta. The former Republic FC defender was a member of the 2014 Championship-winning team and made over 100 appearances with the club.
Saturday’s match will be broadcast live on KQCA My58, Estrella TV Sacramento (Spanish) and ESPN+. Updates online will also be provided via Twitter at @SacRepublicFC or by following #RNOvSAC. To see more matchday information, visit SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide
Tickets for the match can be found by visiting TICKETS, and use the promo code AWAY to purchase in the Republic FC supporters section. There is also a bus for traveling fans, one roundtrip seat per purchase, departing Cal Expo shortly after 2:00 p.m. and tickets for a seat can be purchased by visiting Bus Tickets. The deadline to purchase bus tickets to the match is 5 p.m. Friday, October 25. A bus ticket does NOT include a match ticket, and vice versa.
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