PREVIEW: Saint Louis FC v Sacramento Republic

PREVIEW: Saint Louis FC v Sacramento Republic

Saint Louis FC: (7-8-7) 28 points, 22 games played; [9th in the Western Conference]

-Form Guide: DDWLL

Sacramento Republic FC: (9-6-7) 34 points, 22 games played; [4th in the Western Conference]

-Form Guide: DWDLL

Match Details: Saturday, August 13th @ 7:30 pm CST.

Location: Worldwide Technology Soccer Park; Fenton, MO.

This Saturday, August 13th Saint Louis FC will play host to Sacramento Republic FC in the final match of a four-game homestand in what has been one of the most highly anticipated games of the season at World Wide Technology Soccer Park.

Sacramento Republic has one of the strongest followings in USL and the 2014 League Champions will provide a stiff test for STLFC in front of what is expected to be the third sell-out crowd of the season at Soccer Park. The Republic have firmly planted themselves in a playoff position as they sit fourth in the Western Conference, six points above Saint Louis FC and the red line. For the hosts, this match marks the start of a crucial playoff run-in, with FC currently sitting on the outside of the playoff spots, looking in.

History, albeit brief history, is in Saint Louis FC's favor in this match-up, however. When these two sides met in late April at Bonney Field it was the visitors who came away with all 3 points. The difference came in the 58th minute when Irvin Herrera played Mike Ambersley in down the wing. The St. Louis native drove into the Republic area and cut a ball back across the six-yard box that deflected off of Sacramento defender James Kiffe and past a sprawling Dominik Jakubek for the winner. The Republic weren't without their chances, though, as they recorded 18 shots (4 on target) and 11 corners, but the Saint Louis FC defense held firm and came away with a hard-earned clean sheet.

The Saint Louis FC defense will be looking to replicate that defensive effort against Paul Buckle's side again on Saturday night with the playoff race continuing to heat up. With a few games in hand on most of the Western Conference, STLFC had the weekend off while every other team in the west was in action. The weekend results weren't friendly as FC saw Orange County bump them from the final playoff spot and Arizona United, Seattle Sounders 2 and San Antonio FC close the gap between themselves and St. Louis.

With only eight games left to play in the USL Regular Season, Saturday's game vs. Sacramento represents an important opportunity for Saint Louis FC to keep place with the playoff spots and avoid not making the postseason for a second straight year.

Storylines:

Saint Louis FC announced the loan signings of two Chicago Fire youngsters, midfielders Alex Morrell and Collin Fernandez, for the remainder of the USL Season. Both have been cleared by the league to start their STLFC careers, but it remains to be seen if they will be ready for selection.


Sacramento Republic announced a signing of their own on Tuesday, bringing in immensely experienced, Premier League veteran Carlton Cole in a move that made waves across the league. While Cole will not be available for the trip to St. Louis, he's bound to play a crucial role for Sacramento during the rest of the regular season and beyond.


Both Sacramento and Saint Louis have struggled for goals at times this season. STLFC has scored the third most goals in the Western Conference this year with 30, but 12 of those came in 2 games vs. Tulsa. Sacramento, on the other hand, is in a four-way tie for 7th with just 26 goals scored this season. They have also been held scoreless 6 times on the year.
Saturday's game could be a first professional meeting between Saint Louis FC's Irvin Herrera and the Sac Republic defender Mike da Fonte who played together at the youth level and may now be going head-to-head at Soccer Park.

Leading Scorers:
 
Saint Louis FC: Irvin Herrera (11)
Sacramento Republic FC: Cameron Iwasa (7)

Leading Assists:

Saint Louis FC: T- Mike Ambersley, Richard Dixon, James Musa (3)
Sacramento Republic FC: Daniel Barrera (7)

Player Availablity:

Parker Maher - Out, injury
Brandon Barklage - Out, injury