With playoff hopes already realized, Republic FC turn their focus on locking up a home playoff berth when they take on Swope Park Rangers Wednesday, who are continuing to narrowly cling to playoff aspirations.
Ahead of Wednesday’s match, refresh your memory of Swope Park Rangers.
Battling for a playoff spot, SPR’s playoff hopes will rest on their final matches of the year. Winners in three (and collecting points in four) of their last five matches, Swope Park has willed a -3 goal differential for 50 points (14-10-8) this season to keep their head above water in the Western Conference. The Rangers have been hugely successful in close games, winning 11 of their 15 matches that were decided by a single-goal margin.
While suffering two-thirds of their losses on the road, SPR have made sure to salvage points where they can, collecting five wins and five draws in their 16 games away from Children’s Mercy Park. Swope Park has played to a 9-3-3 line at home in 2018.
Through 19 appearances, Colton Storm has matched teammates Kharlton Belmar and Hadji Barry with five assists on the season. The five assists mark a career high for the 24-year-old defender and he has also connected for 15 key passes this season. While Storm has met his targets at a respectable 78.7 percent rate, much of his success has come within the defensive half, where his attempts have met their mark at a 89.8 percent clip.
Recently named to USL’s Week 28 Team of the Week, Hadji Barry has taken off since the last time Republic FC faced off against Swope Park Rangers. Swope Park’s lone goal against the Indomitable Club back on July 10 came via the Guinean forward and since then Barry has scored nine more times to rise to a USL fifth-best goal total of 16 on the season. A stalwart of the Swope Park lineup, Barry has appeared in a team-high 31 games this season, logging more minutes than any of the members on his team (2,610).
Chase Minter and Tyler Blackwood could be lining up against their former club tonight. Minter has made 25 appearances on the year, while Tyler Blackwood has notched six goals in 27 starts for the club. Minter played the 2016 USL season for Sacramento and Blackwood in the 2017 season.
Republic FC last met Swope Park Rangers back on July 10 as the Sacramento squad traveled to Kansas City to take the road win 3-1. A brace performance by Cameron Iwasa led the way for Republic FC and broke the club’s all-time record for most goals scored in USL play. Iwasa logged the first goal of the match just before heading to the locker rooms, teaming up with Jaime Villarreal to receive a short through ball just inside the box that Iwasa put away for a 1-0 lead at the half. The lead doubled 8 minutes into the second 45 as Iwasa made a diving heading attempt at a ball that curled into the box and was consequently redirected on goal. Swope Park pulled back within one goal as Hadji Barry went back post in the 70th minute, but Sacramento put the game away in the 88th minute on Christian Eissele’s third goal of the season.
Republic FC and Swope Park Rangers will face off on Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. kick at Papa Murphy’s Park.
Updates will be provided via Twitter at @SacRepublicFC or using #SACvSPR
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