Republic FC (8-2-6, 30 pts) finished the 2020 USL Championship regular season strong with a 4-0 win over Portland Timbers 2 at Papa Murphy’s Park last Saturday night.
Dariusz Formella scored his third brace this season after finding the back of the net twice within the first four minutes of the match – setting a new club all-time record for fastest brace scored in SRFC history. The Polish playmaker added an assist and alongside Rafael Diaz who collected his fourth clean sheet this season after an eight-save performance, both Republic FC players earned spots on the Championship Team of the Week starting eleven for Week 15.
Dariusz Formella was named to the Championship Team of the Week starting eleven three times this season.
Formella’s assist came in just the ninth minute when he picked out Jaime Villarreal who headed home a perfectly placed attempt to gift his side a 3-0 advantage. In the 25th minute, Villyan Bijev saved the best of the bunch for last when the Bulgarian-born winger whipped a curling effort towards the top corner that pierced its way into the back of the net for a 4-0 lead to the hosts. The goal was nominated for the Fans’ Choice Goal of the Week for Week 15.
Mark Briggs’ men finished the regular season with just one loss over the last dozen matches and 20 goals scored – an average of over two goals per game – over the last nine matches. Offensively, the squad has taken the fourth-most shots in the league this season with 253 and have done well to limit teams’ scoring chances as Sacramento is one of just five Western Conference clubs that collected five or more shutouts this season.
Rodrigo Lopez contributed two assists against T2 during SRFC's regular season finale.
Phoenix Rising FC (11-3-2, 35 pts) were once again a scorching hot squad like it was in 2019 when in broke numerous records across the league and the 2020 team is an equally impressive juggernaut on all ends of the pitch.
Despite being in a competitive Group B that included the likes of LA Galaxy II, San Diego Loyal SC, Orange County SC and Las Vegas Lights FC, Rising FC was the cream of the crop that rose to the top and just like the campaign before, the club from Arizona had arguably the most lethal attacking front in the league.
Phoenix’s 43 goals this season was tied with Reno 1868 FC for the most goals scored in the league as Junior Flemmings’ 14 goals over the course of the campaign was enough to earn him the 2020 USL Championship Golden Boot. But offensive threats don’t stop there, as Rufat Dadashov’s 11 goals were tied for the third-most in the entire league. Solomon Asante added another six goals this season and dished out a league-best nine assists this season while his 42 scoring chances created were also the most in the entire Championship.
Against Rising FC last season in Sacramento, Shannon Gomez and company held Phoenix scoreless for a 0-0 draw.
Saturday will be the first meeting between the two Western Conference clubs this season after both sides typically clash once at home and once away over the course of a regular USL Championship season.
Republic FC has had decent success against Rising FC despite being dealt a 2-1 loss the last time the Indomitable Club visited Phoenix. In 2019, Cameron Iwasa put the boys in Old Glory Red in front 1-0 before the hosts scored two unanswered goals to claim all three points in Arizona. When Rising FC visited Sacramento in 2019 in the reverse fixture, both sides played to a 0-0 draw.
Sam Werner's 82 crosses are the sixth-most in the USL Championship this season.
The boys in Old Glory Red have the upper hand in the all-time series but Saturday marks the first ever match between the two clubs in the postseason. Republic FC has never been shutout in Phoenix in seven away matches at Rising FC.
For additional information regarding the countdown to the 2020 USL Championship postseason following an exciting regular season campaign alongside SRFC's presenting partner UC Davis Health, be sure to check out Republic FC's playoff page and the Matchday Guide for Saturday's Western Conference Quarterfinal showdown.
Watch the match with fellow Republic FC supporters during the Virtual Watch Party simulcast during the club’s final home game of the 2020 USL Championship regular season and postseason. During the match, fans can join the club’s virtual watch party simulcast where they can interact with other fans, participate in games and contests, and be features in the club’s match telecast while cheering for the boys in Old Glory Red.
To join a watch party, fans can RSVP at SacRepublic.com/virtual-watch-parties. Saturday's special guest will be Tommy Stewart joining the Watch Party at halftime!
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