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Preview: Republic FC vs. Tacoma Defiance

September 18, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Sacramento Republic FC News Release

At a Glance: #SACvTAC

Sunday, September 20

7:30 p.m. PT kickoff

Papa Murphy's Park, Sacramento, California

How to Watch: KQCA My58, Estrella TV Sacramento (Spanish), ESPN+ (Digital)

What's the latest on the team?

Without even playing a match on Thursday night, Republic FC (7-1-4, 25 pts) secured a seventh consecutive trip to the postseason after Sunday's upcoming opponent - Tacoma Defiance - lost 3-2 to Reno 1868 FC in Nevada.

The result ensures Reno and Sacramento will advance to the 2020 USL Championship postseason but both sides still have the top spot to compete for. Wednesday's result moves 1868 FC up to 28 points with four matches remaining while SRFC - also with four fixtures left on the regular season schedule - currently sit in second with 25 points. Both regional rivals will clash one final time during the regular season in Reno on September 26.

The Indomitable Club's most recent result was a 3-3 draw at home against Reno where Mark Briggs' men not only picked up a point but continued their current eight-game unbeaten run. During the eight-game streak, Republic FC has allowed an average of less than a goal per game with just seven scores conceded since August 1.

Dariusz Formella's team-leading six goals is currently tied for seventh-most in the Western Conference.

The visitors took an early lead before Sam Werner powered home a header provided by Kharlton Belmar to level the match in just the 5th minute. Belmar collected his second assist on the night after setting up Dariusz Formella in the 32nd minute for the Polish playmakers' team-best sixth goal this season. A penalty kick from 1868 FC in 67th minute made the match 2-2 before a Jaime Villarreal goal in the 73rd minute lifted his side to a late lead. Reno managed to find a late equalizer to ensure both teams would share the spoils.

What about the visitors?

Tacoma Defiance (2-8-1, 7 pts) was still mathematically in contention for a postseason spot heading into Thursday night's game in Reno but the 3-2 loss to 1868 FC officially eliminated the Pacific Northwest club from a trip to the playoffs.

Defiance played a tough Reno team well, but a win was the only result that could have kept the club in the hunt for the postseason.

1868 FC jumped out to an early lead by way of Sam Gleadle before Emilio Ycaza made it 2-0 early in the second half. Tacoma's Abdoulaye Cissoko was able to cut the deficit in half in the 55th minute but the hosts restored their two-goal lead two minutes later when Foster Langsdorf found the back of the net. Ray Serrano was able to bring his side back to within one in the 75th minute but it was too little too late, and the Pacific Northwest club was handed a 3-2 defeat.

On Thursday, Villyan Bijev won the Fans' Choice Goal of the Week for his Week 12 game-winner vs. Orange County

Defiance will look to break the current six-game winless streak in the California Capital and despite the result, SRFC's upcoming visitors will look to build on a promising offensive performance against one of the league's top defenses. Tacoma's two goals against Reno was just the third time all season a team scored more than one goal against 1868 FC.

Head-to-Head

In ten home games against Defiance, Republic FC has tasted victory in all but one.

The lone draw was a 3-3 back and forth battle on July 13, and it just so happened to be the Indomitable Club's first game back returning to play following the pandemic. Dariusz Formella bagged a brace - his first of two against Tacoma this season - and a powerful Tomas Hilliard-Arce header into the back of the net was the defenders first career goal with SRFC. But an opening goal from Defiance in the first minute and two second half strikes meant both Group A sides would each earn a point on the night.

On August 15, the two clubs clashed again in Sacramento with Mark Briggs' men earning a 3-1 victory as a pair of first half Formella goals and Sacramento-native Cameron Iwasa's 50th career strike during his USL Championship career saw his side snag three precious points in the Group A standings.

Jordan McCrary and the SRFC defense have conceded just seven goals over the last eight matches.

A win on Sunday night would be the 10thvictory at home against Tacoma Defiance and it will mark the first time Republic FC will have earned double digit victories against any opponent in the California Capital.

Overall: 12-2-2 (GF: 34; GA: 15)

Home: 9-0-1

Away: 3-2-1

Pregame Show and Virtual Watch Party

Watch the match with fellow Republic FC supporters during the Virtual Watch Party simulcast during the contest. Thirty minutes before kickoff, Live from the Pitch with Connor Sutton - the club's new pregame show on Facebook - will give fans a new matchday perspective with interviews, Q&A with club insiders, and live look-ins to warm-ups.

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.


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