Saturday marks the first home exhibition match of Republic FC’s 2020 training camp campaign against last season’s regular season Western Conference runner-up, Reno 1868 FC.
The Indomitable Club ended their regional rival’s 2019 postseason run when the boys in Old Glory Red departed Reno with a 3-1 win in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last October. After falling behind within the first five minutes of the match, Republic FC bagged three unanswered goals to claim victory in the Donner Pass Derby and advance in the playoffs.
SRFC Midfielder Sam Werner cruises by his defender in last season's USL regular season clash at home against Reno.
But that was then, and this is now.
Mark Briggs’ men are well into preseason training camp and the team already has one massive exhibition match under their belts.
Last Wednesday, the boys in Old Glory Red visited the 2019 MLS Cup Champions Seattle Sounders FC for a 120-minute friendly where every player who traveled saw 60 full minutes of action, including the first 75 minutes up against Seattle’s best preparing for Concacaf Champions League competition.
SRFC forward Cameron Iwasa netted one of the three away goals the Indomitable Club scored against 1868 FC in the 2019 postseason.
Even Republic FC Academy products Aris Yang, Diego Ramos, Julian Chavez, 15-year-old Rafael Jauregui and first team defender Hayden Sargis had the opportunity to play precious minutes and gain experience against top MLS talent.
Against Sounders FC, the Indomitable Club netted a pair of solid strikes by way of Sam Werner and Cameron Iwasa. Both Werner and Iwasa also found the back of the net last time out against Reno and will look to keep their impressive preseason form rolling against the club’s regional rivals this Saturday afternoon in a closed-door friendly at Cosumnes River College.
Reno finished the 2019 regular season with the second-best record in the Western Conference behind only record-shattering Phoenix Rising FC and 1868 FC scored the fourth most goals in the entire league last season.
Defender Dekel Keinan in action against SRFC's regional rivals at home last season.
Offensively, they bring it every game and this year will be no different.
Forward Corey Hertzog’s 19 goals was tied for third best in all of the USL last year and Reno added even more firepower up front to join him. Last month, 1868 FC landed Foster Langsdorf from Portland Timbers 2, a forward that’s netted 21 goals over the last two seasons and even made two MLS appearances for T2’s parent club. Reno also added former Sacramento State striker Benjamin Kikanovic who scored nine goals over his two-year college career and was named the Big West co-Freshman of the Year.
Republic FC’s rivals made some additions to their backline as well, signing former MLS Cup winning defender with Seattle Sounders FC, Tony Alfaro. Joining him in Reno’s defense will be left back Curaçaoan international Ayrton Statie who has appeared in a dozen international games.
This exhibition match will be the first of three times these two regional rivals are set to clash this season. The next match between 1868 FC and Republic FC being a USL Championship regular season fixture in Sacramento on March 25 at 7:30 p.m. PT.
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