With just 12 days between the start of training and Republic FC’s first friendly against Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids, coach and technical director Paul Buckle decided the team could benefit from a getaway.
After training Feb. 1-4 at Cosumnes River College, the Republc FC will go to the state of Sinaloa in Mexico for seven days of intense training.
“We’ll have a few new faces on the squad and going away, and spending time together morning until evening should cement some good relationships,” Buckle said. “It’s a really good venue, and we can do three or four sessions a day. I think it will put us in the best position to be ready to put on a good show in our first game at home.”
The club will train at a facility used by Liga MX clubs Santos Laguna, Club Tijuana and Dorados de Sinaloa. Buckle said he expects to bring 22 players; there are 18 players on the preseason roster.
In addition to playing the Rapids, Republic FC will host its MLS affiliate, the San Jose Earthquakes, seven days later at Bonney Field. Sandwiched between is a Feb. 17 match against Burlingame Dragons FC, a Premier Development League affiliate of the Earthquakes.
Republic FC also has matches at lower-division clubs in Santa Rosa, Fresno and Ventura, and at Sacramento State and UC Santa Barbara.
Republic FC will play at least eight matches in 23 days, with an exhibition against UC Davis yet to be finalized.
Buckle likes the high number of matches.
“It really gives us a lot of good game understanding so we can hit the ground running for league,” Buckle said.
Buckle can’t wait to see new defender Mike da Fonte, who signed Dec. 21. He played last season for the USL’s New York Red Bulls II and is expected to play a similar role in central defense as the departed Mickey Daly. The second-team all-USL defender signed recently with Bethlehem Steel FC, a Philadelphia Union affiliate.
“I think Mike has the personality profile to be an effective player for us,” Buckle said. “He’s very aggressive and has a game that compares with Mickey’s.”
Successful beginning – The Sacramento State men beat Liga Deportiva Alajuelense 2-0 on Friday in the first of four exhibition matches against Primera Division reserve teams during their nine-day trip to Costa Rica.
Isaac Flores and Isaiah Brown scored and goalkeeper Philip Bru had four saves to earn the shutout in the exhibition near the Costa Rican capital of San José.
At halftime, the Hornets were greeted by former U.S. national men’s team captain Claudio Reyna, who played in four World Cups before retiring in 2008. Reyna, the director of operations for New York City FC, was scouting.
The Hornets will play San Carlos on Sunday, Liberia on Tuesday and Saprissa on Thursday.
New owners for Rochester? – Dave and Wendy Dworkin, minority owners of the Kings, are looking to save the troubled Rochester Rhinos, the 2015 USL champions.
The Rochester City Council announced Friday that it would seek a 10-year lease agreement with the ownership group headed by the Dworkins for the use, operation and maintenance of the Rhinos’ home park, Sahlen’s Stadium.
The agreement is pending the Dworkin group’s completion of the purchase of the Rhinos, which was taken over by the USL after the previous ownership failed to pay stadium rent.
Wendy Dworkin is releated to Les Harrison, the original owner and coach of the NBA’s Rochester Royals, who moved to Cincinnati in 1957, Kansas City in 1972 and Sacramento in 1985. The Dworkins joined the investment team in 2013 that bought part-ownership in the Kings and eventually kept them from moving to Seattle.