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Know Your Opponent: Tacoma Defiance

By Alex Crook, 08/03/21, 4:15PM PDT

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New opponent, same mindset awaits the Indomitable Club in Week 16

Sacramento Republic FC returns to Pacific Division competition after a momentous 3-1 win over New York Red Bulls II on Saturday at Heart Health Park. SRFC has secured seven points in its last three matches, and will now take its recent run of form up to Washington.

Luis Felipe’s brace and key playmaking against a fierce New York press led the boys in Old Glory Red in Saturday’s win, and Thursday’s quick turnaround up north will have the Indomitable Club on its toes as it looks to continue its climb up the Pacific Division table. 

Thursday’s matchup with Tacoma is slated for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Playing Close to Home

Tacoma is a youth-rich club filled with local players – the Defiance brought in 10 players from the Seattle Sounders academy to feature in the 2021 season, and overall, feature eight players from Washington State.

The Defiance boast an average age of 21.2, the fourth youngest in the league. Of its 19 players on the roster, nine are under the age of 19 with three of those – Obed Vargas, Cody Baker and Conrad Lee – coming directly from the Sounders academy prior to the 2021 season. 

Tacoma’s 10 arrivals from the Sounders Academy have racked up over 3,000 combined minutes throughout the course of the season. Of those 10, 18-year-old Sota Kitahara’s 773 minutes across 11 starts leads the pack and ranks fourth on the squad. Vargas (15) has nine starts to his name as well for the Defiance, and he and Reed Baker-Whiting (16) are two of the seven youngest players to feature in a USL Championship game this season. 

Head to Head

It may already be August, but Thursday’s meeting will mark the first of four games in 2021 between Sacramento and Tacoma. 

The Indomitable Club has dominated the long-standing fixture, going 12-3-3 over 18 all-time meetings. Tacoma took all three points in the two clubs’ last meeting, a 1-0 affair up north last summer. Otherwise, SRFC has grabbed points from the Defiance in every matchup since April of 2019.

The last time Sacramento took points in the fixture, Rodrigo Lopez did what the boys in Old Glory Red have been doing so often during this 2021 season: scoring off the bench. Lopez’s 90th-minute goal secured a 3-3 draw with Kharlton Belmar also finding the back of the net. 

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