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Three Takeaways from #TACvSAC

October 1, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Sacramento Republic FC News Release

The boys in Old Glory Red will hit the road for a first-round playoff game, a handful of youngsters earn quality minutes and Rafa Jauregui becomes the youngest in club history to start a match for SRFC

It wasn't the result the Indomitable Club were hoping for on Wednesday night, but the 1-0 loss to Tacoma Defiance was only the second defeat for Mark Briggs' men all season.

The result ended Republic FC's 10-game unbeaten run - one shy of tying the club's all-time record of 11 consecutive matches set in 2016 - but this season's remarkable double digit stretch without a loss ties the second-longest in club history with a 10-game undefeated streak set in 2014 during SRFC's inaugural campaign.

But there were still plenty of positives to reflect on following the loss in the Pacific Northwest and before the squad starts to look ahead to Saturday night's regular season finale against Portland Timbers 2 at Papa Murphy's Park, it's time to see what were the bright spots from just the club's second defeat in all of 2020.

Jauregui Youngest Ever to Start for SRFC

Rafael Jauregui made history on Wednesday night as he became the youngest-ever player to start in a match across all competitions in the Indomitable Club's seven-year history.

At the age of 15 years, nine months and 10 days old, Rafa is now the youngest to earn a place in the starting eleven, after already becoming the youngest player to make an appearance during a league match when he entered in the second half against Reno 1868 FC on July 20. The midfielder was active in his first start, logging 62 minutes and finishing the night tied with the most scoring opportunities created.

Jauregui finished his debut in the starting eleven with a passing percentage of 85%.

The previous record for the youngest Republic FC player to start a league match was Gabe Gissie against OKC Energy FC in 2014 at the age of 17 years, seven months and six days. Across all competitions, the youngest to start for SRFC was Roberto Hategan during a 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match against SF City SF at the age of 17 years and 21 days.

Youth Movement

Four players that competed in first team action for Sacramento on Wednesday night had previously developed their skills in the Republic FC Youth Academy system.

Named to the starting lineup were three players who were member of the Republic FC Academy system - defender Hayden Sargis and fellow midfielders Rafael Jauregui and Julian Chavez - while a fourth academy product entered the match in the second half. While Sargis has become a regular in the starting eleven after making his 14th start of the season, both JuJu and Rafa were first-timers in the first team starting lineup. Midfielder Mario Penagos also made his way into the match as a second half substitute which was his fourth appearance in 2020.

Wednesday night was Chavez's fifth appearance during a match this season.

As already mentioned, Jauregui was tied for the team-lead with two scoring chances created while Sargis's 72 passes were the second most on the squad against Tacoma. Chavez was credited with three total crosses on the night while Penagos managed to get two touches on the ball and contribute a tackle during his six minutes on the pitch including making a veteran play by collecting a card from a foul that had the midfielder not sacrificed his body, the home side looked destined to streak downfield from a wide-open counter attack.

Away for the First Round

In the seven years Republic FC has been existence, not once has the Indomitable Club missed out on a trip to the postseason.

Wednesday night's result solidified Sacramento's place as the second seed from Group A and will travel to the Group A winner - either Phoenix Rising FC or LA Galaxy II - for the opening round of the 2020 USL Championship playoffs.

Brady Scott made his second career start in net for the Indomitable Club.

Regardless of which opponent Republic FC will play, the squad will have to hit the road for its Western Conference Quarterfinals showdown. If Mark Briggs' men are victorious in the opening round, they'll advance to the conference semifinals and play the winner of Reno 1868 FC and the second-place side from Group B - Phoenix or LA.

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