We traded three questions with Indomitable City Soccer, they cover the Sacramento Republic who hosts the Swope Park Rangers tonight. Our three questions for them were answered by Josh Beeman.
1. Skimming through the season so far, it looks like Sacramento is a little streaky. Two wins, a draw, three losses and two wins. All wins have been shutouts and all losses 0-1 leads me to believe that the defense is pretty good and they keep games pretty tight. Fair assumption and why have they been that streaky?
Josh Beeman: Your assumption about the Republic's defense is definitely fair. The defense is the team's biggest strength this season and has been consistently good throughout the season. The Republic have actually conceded the fewest goals in USL by a wide margin, just 3 over 8 games.
The team looks streaky in large part due to the struggling offense at the beginning of the year. They could not score a goal to save their lives early on and that led to some close draws or losses. Now it appears that they're getting things figured out and have scored multiple goals in every game this month.
2. How would you describe Sacramento FC? Playing style?
Josh: Historically the Republic have been an offensive minded team, which meant they sacrificed a bit on defense. This season, however, things are different. They have a fairly balanced style, still fairly attack-minded but making sure to stay defensively sound.
On attack they utilize their fullbacks a lot and you'll see them go up and down the field all night.
3. It seems that Sacramento is one of the leading MLS expansion candidates. Is it going to happen? Attendance is great for USL so the fan base seems to be there but is the club ready to make that leap?
Josh: The club is absolutely ready to make the leap to MLS. We don't know if it is going to happen for sure until an expansion team is awarded, but we've all been told multiple times that it is only a matter of when. In his recent visit to Sacramento, Garber said that he hopes and expects Sacramento to come to MLS in the next round of expansion, which would set a date of around 2020.
They had these questions for us:
1. Swope Park Rangers is going to be a bit new to us out here in Sacramento. Can you give us a quick primer on the team and their interesting name?
Sporting Kansas City likes to do things their own way. When it came time to add the USL team to the club SKC II or B would not work. The team plays most of their games at the Championship field at Swope Soccer Village where Sporting KC has their training center. A number of years ago when MLS had the Reserve League, fans started calling the reserve team the Swope Park Rangers. It only seemed logical to resurrect the old name that already had fan history and support.
When they built the actual team, they went out and got Marc Dos Santos, the NASL coach of the year, Dane Kelly, all-time leading USL scorer and a number of players they think could develop into MLS players. They have a couple players on loan from SKC and have used several Academy players already this season. The team will tend to play a similar 4-3-3 formation to Sporting KC.
2. SPR enters Saturday's game having lost 4 of their last 5 games. What has gone wrong for them and how can they turn it around?
Most of SPR's players are young and signed for potential. They are almost always going against older and more mature teams that want wins where the Rangers want to give guys time and experience. They do want to win and set that expectation with the team but ultimately they want development. Even when matched up against other MLS second teams they average a much younger team.
They started well in preseason and knocked off MLS teams in the Desert Diamond Cup but the small roster, youth and a couple injuries have limited their options.
As they gain experience and Dos Santos continues to work with them, they will get on the winning side more often.
3. Who are some SPR players that Republic fans should keep an eye on during Saturday's game?
Kevin Oliveira - a 19 year old central midfielder that was signed from Benfica's B team, can play both attacking mid and in the box-to-box role.
Daniel Salloi - the 19 year old striker is on loan from Sporting KC and is the rare combination of a player signed as a homegrown player that takes up an international slot. He is Hungarian and was in Kansas City as an exchange student and played with SKC's Academy while he was here.
Tyler Pasher - midfielder that has started to blossom as a winger, quick and wants to get forward has been one of the bright spots.