The Tacoma Defiance face off against a struggling Sacramento Republic FC in Northern California. Republic FC have lost two in a row, slipping perilously to 10th place, which is the last playoff spot in the USL Championship Western Conference. With everything on a knife’s edge in the Western Conference, a win could take Republic as high as 5th place and a loss all the way to 15th.
They will look to get that win on the backs of Cameron Iwasa—their leading scorer with 12 goals—and Thomas Enevoldsen, a 32-year-old Dane who is Republic’s creative force. Sacramento’s real strength is their defense led by centerback Mitchell Taintor and their defensive-minded former Seattle Sounders’ right back Jordan McCrary. Those two along with Republic’s defensive midfielder tag team of Jaime Villarreal and Ray Saari—the once Sounders 2 player—have them letting in the 4th least goals (29) in the Western Conference.
The newly improved (and quite possibly good) Defiance attack may have caused the Republic’s resolute defense trouble if the sides played last week or the next. Unfortunately, the international break, First Team absences and injuries have left the Defiance attack barren in their wake. They will be without the top 4 attacking players that regularly play with the Defiance—including current talisman Shandon Hopeau. Justin Dhillon and Alfonso-Ocampo-Chavez are with the first team in Colorado. Alec Diaz is also away with the Puerto Rican national team, which means the Defiance will be without all three of their forwards.
With the attack depleted, it will be up to the Defiance’s oft maligned defense to lead them to points. Fortunately it has been left mostly intact though their one absence, Nick Hinds, could cause problems. Hinds is the only left back on the roster. Their options are to play a centerback out wide—which went horribly the last time they tried it—move one of Denso Ulysse or Antonee Burke-Gilroy to the left, or start a Academy left back. A month ago, they could have called up Connor Draught, but he left for Cornell, so their best Academy option is probably Sota Kitahara. Whatever they do it won’t be ideal, but giving Kitahara might be a decent idea.
This will probably be the Defiance’s toughest match in awhile but it provides the defense with a chance to prove they can step up and some lesser used players a chance to prove they deserve more playing time.
nos audietis in somniis | nos audietis in altum
you will hear us in your sleep | you will hear us from the deep
this is our Sound
Keys to the Game:
- Try to nip a goal early
- Press sparingly but decisively
- Keep Iwasa and Enevoldsen disconnected
How to Watch
Match date/time: 7:30 PM PT, Saturday, September 7, 2019
Venue: Papa Murphy’s Park, Sacramento, Lower American River Watershed, Northern California.
How I'm watching
Outfit: Grey Sounders hoodie and white Sounders beanie.
Where: You mustn’t know.