Leading Off: Area supports its teams in a major way

Published: Sunday, May. 18, 2014 - 8:29 pm

This, that and the other thing:

• If you weren’t at Hughes Stadium or Raley Field on Saturday night, where were you?

More than 20,000 rabid soccer fans packed the old horseshoe at Sacramento City College to watch Republic FC defeat LA Galaxy II in a chippy match of USL Pro teams.

At the same time, more than 14,000 baseball fans filled West Sacramento’s minor-league ballpark to watch the River Cats play Tacoma.

The show of support begs the question: Is Sacramento a minor-league sports town with major-league aspirations or a major-league city with minor-league teams?

• Republic FC matches are more of an event than competition. Horns echo throughout Hughes, flags are waved, chants are endless, and there is dancing in the aisles. Victory or defeat seem not to matter to fans as much as Sacramento simply being on the soccer map.

• While the fans have made themselves at home at Hughes in the first three matches and have averaged a higher attendance than 10 Major League Soccer teams, it won’t be long before Republic FC begins playing home matches in its new 8,000-seat stadium at Cal Expo.

• While we’re sure Republic FC president Warren Smith would love to keep his team playing at Hughes Stadium – the bigger the crowd, the bigger the revenue – the old football field is not soccer friendly. The field is too narrow, which actually hurts Republic FC’s offense, and the synthetic turf is too fast.

• Still, if Republic FC can average 8,000 fans throughout the season – and beyond – at Cal Expo, the MLS has to consider adding Sacramento as an expansion team in the future.

– Victor Contreras

vcontreras@sacbee.com


Today’s poll

Would you like to see Republic FC matches continue at Hughes Stadium despite its narrow, synthetic field?

• Yes, it’s a fun stadium.

• No, a regulation field

is a must.

Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports

Weekend poll results

What’s your take on the Warriors hiring Steve Kerr as coach?

• Great hire; he’ll make them better: 25%

• It’s a gamble; he has no experience: 39%

• We need to wait and see: 36%

Total votes: 164

Read more articles by Victor Contreras



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