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Match Preview: Republic FC travel to Swope Park Rangers

By Sean Steimel, 07/10/18, 12:15PM PDT

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Tuesday's matchup is the first of two in 2018 against the back-to-back USL Cup runners-up.

KANSAS CITY,  Kansas (July 10, 2018) — Sacramento Republic FC begin a two-match road trip as they head to Kansas to take on Swope Park Rangers on Tuesday, July 10. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Children’s Mercy Park and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN+.

Tuesday’s matchup will be the first of two between Sacramento and Swope Park this season. Sacramento holds an 0-3-2 all-time record against Swope Park, including last season’s 0-1 loss in Kansas in the second round of the 2017 USL Playoffs. Swope Park Rangers joined the league in the 2016 season and has reached the ULS Cup final in both of its first two years.

Republic FC (8-5-6, 30 points) enter Tuesday’s match in sixth place in the Western Conference after recording a scoreless draw with table-topping Real Monarchs SLC in a hard-fought match on Saturday. Sacramento continues to look for their first USL victory since June 13th when they defeated Fresno FC 1-0 on the road.

SRFC goalkeeper Josh Cohen recorded his sixth shutout of the season in Saturday’s clash against Salt Lake City, which places him with the third best tally in the Western Conference. His 60 saves slot him in second place in all of USL play, trailing only Tulsa Roughneck’s Fabian Cerda.

Sacramento’s recent drought in front of goal has not been for lack of effort—Cameron Iwasa and Villyan Bijev have paced the Republic FC offense, with the two ranking first and third, respectively, in shots attempted in all of USL. Iwasa, who leads his side with eight goals in all competitions on the year, will be returning to Kansas where he spent time playing with Swope Park during the 2017 season.

The Rangers (9-4-4, 31 points) jumped to fourth place in the West with their 2-0 victory over Seattle last Thursday. Kharlton Belmar, the forward who scored the match winner in the 1-0 victory that ended Republic FC’s 2017 playoffs campaign, leads Swope Park with nine goals in nine appearances for the club.

Two former Republic FC players have featured heavily for Swope Park Rangers this season. Midfielder Chase Minter has made 16 appearances on the year, while Tyler Blackwood has scored twice in 13 starts for the club. Minter played the 2016 USL season for Sacramento and Blackwood manned the wing for Republic in the 2017 season. Swope Park is led by Head Coach Paulo Nagamura, a two-time MLS Cup winner in his 12-year MLS career. Nagamura was an assistant on the 2017 Rangers staff after retiring from his playing days following the 2016 MLS season with parent club Sporting Kansas City. Nagamura was a teammate of Republic FC General Manager Todd Dunivant on the 2005 MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy side.

Updates of the match will be provided via Twitter at @SacRepublicFC and by following #SPRvSAC. To see more matchday information, visit SacRepublicFC.com/matchday-guide.

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