Center backs don’t typically score many goals, but Republic FC’s newest acquisition Tomas Hilliard-Arce has four – including 2 game winners -- in two seasons of USL play. When it comes to set pieces, his powerful headers are a force to be reckoned with. Not many defenders can be utilized as effectively on offense as Hilliard-Arce can. And the best part, offense isn't even the CB's primary specialty.
There are plenty of talents the Stanford graduate brings with him to Sacramento, on both ends of the field, so let's take a look at the defender in action before he joined the boys in Old Glory Red...
His coaches at the collegiate and professional level have both praised the defender’s aerial abilities. The towering center back is a huge asset on set pieces, both on the offensive and defensive fronts. And based on the picture above, there’s no need to question his commitment when it comes to sacrificing himself on a 50-50 header.
Despite being such a formidable force on the field, Hilliard-Arce also offers a delicate and technical touch. The Stanford graduate also regularly makes smart decisions with the ball at his feet. In his defensive half of the field during his USL career, Hilliard-Arce has a successful passing percentage of 87.8% in 2018 and 90.6% in 2019 in league play.
Hilliard-Arce delivers a thunderous header and its typically experienced best from set pieces. The defender has thrived when advancing upfield to capitalize on a dead ball freekick. He’s just as much a menace on the attacking front as he is on the back line, the position he was originally drafted second overall in the MLS SuperDraft to play.
The 24-year-old might only have two years of professional experience under his belt, but Hilliard-Arce doesn’t let pressure get to him. Whether he’s on the ball or not. The LA Galaxy II captain may have spent most of his LA career with the USL club, but the defender also made a handful of Major League Soccer appearances for the Southern California MLS first team (five).
The Los Dos skipper had no issues doing the dirty work and throwing himself into crowded spaces, as seen above. He’s an old school style, traditional center back with a winning pedigree, given the former Cardinal won three National Championships alongside fellow Republic FC players Sam Werner and Drew Skundrich.
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