With just 16 games left in the USL Championship season, it’s time for Timbers 2 to start finding some results. Winless in their last three matches, T2 head to California’s capital to take on Sacramento Republic FC, the first of a two-game spell away from Providence Park.
For some insight on the opponent, we talked to William Hodges of Indomitable City Soccer, who breaks the team down ahead of Saturday night’s matchup.
Last time the two teams played, T2 came out with the 1-0 victory. What has changed with Sacramento Republic since then?
Sacramento is still trying to find its way. They are 5-5-1 since the April 13 game against T2. There have been some positives (road wins at New Mexico and Fresno/draw with Phoenix at home), but they have continued to struggle to score goals, with the exception of the 6-0 defeat of Tulsa a few weeks back. The feeling around here is they could be a top four team in the West, but the consistency hasn’t been there yet. Time will tell.
What Sacramento player should Timbers 2 fans be aware of?
Cameron Iwasa continues to have a tremendous season for the Republic. He leads the team in goals with nine (sixth best in the league) and is just a force out there. Midfielder Sam Werner is another player to be aware of. He is a feisty and creative player and has performed in big moments. He has four goals and three assists on the season.
Which part of the Sacramento defense should T2 look to exploit throughout the game?
Right down the middle.
T2 likes to employ a more of a mid-block, play through the flanks, and play direct. Is that a game plan that could work? If not, how should T2 look to adjust?
Difficult to answer, but the Republic’s outside backs are definitely a strength of the team, so play up the flanks may pose a challenge. Direct play, at least as I understand it (long balls over the midfield), could work — especially given the weakness up the middle.
If T2 win, what will they have done to earn that victory?
If T2 can score early, it just might be their ticket to coming away with three points. Papa Murphy’s Park is a fun and hostile environment to play in, but the Republic haven’t shown the ability this season to come back after being down. This was a trademark of the team last season. I haven’t watched T2 play much this season, but again, if they can score early, dictate play, and maintain composure in front of 12,000 + fans, they will have earned a victory. I don’t know how you feel, but a point out of this game would be good for T2.
Timbers 2 are in the middle of a rough patch — securing just six points in the past six games— and are now three points away from being out of the playoffs entirely. A victory at Papa Murphy’s Park Saturday night will be a great result for the team as they look to start their two-game Northern California road trip on a positive note.
Thank you again to William for sharing some insight on Sacramento Republic. You can follow him on Twitter @william_hodges and find his work at Indomitable City Soccer.