It looks like a huge mismatch on paper.
The Los Angeles Galaxy II enters Saturday night’s USL match against visiting Republic FC on a terrific roll.
The Western Conference leaders are 4-0-4, have scored a league-high 17 goals and feature the hottest player in the league – forward Jack McBean. He has scored nine goals in eight matches, including a hat trick in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
Ten players from the Galaxy’s MLS team also have seen action on loan for Los Dos this season.
Republic FC (2-3-1, 7 points) has lost its past three matches, hasn’t scored in the past four and has just two goals in six matches, including just one in the run of play. They also are a younger, less-experienced bunch than the Republic FC teams of the previous two seasons.
But it is a rivalry game, and Sacramento has had the upper hand in the series.
Republic FC is 6-3-1 all-time against the Galaxy II, including a 3-2 win over Los Angeles in the 2014 USL playoff semifinals. Los Dos has won the past two meetings, both in Sacramento, including a 1-0 win in last season’s playoff opener. Sacramento is 3-0-1 against Galaxy II in Carson.
“We definitely need a bounce-back game, and who better than against our rivals,” said Republic forward Cameron Iwasa.
Defender Emrah Klimenta has had some of his best matches against the Galaxy II, including a one-goal, one-assist performance in Republic FC’s 3-1 win over Galaxy II in last season’s USL home opener.
“There is no love lost between us,” Klimenta said. “We’re in a little slump right now, so to get a victory against them would be extra sweet.”
Despite the disparity in offensive stats, Republic FC coach Paul Buckle doesn’t think there is a gulf between the two teams. He noted that Republic FC has allowed the fewest goals in the league, three, through six matches.
“Our defensive record speaks for itself,” he said. “We’re a hard nut to crack.”
The Galaxy could have the nutcracker in McBean, should he play. He played 90 minutes on Wednesday as the 21-year-old continued his amazing resurrection.
He signed with the Galaxy as a 16-year-old in 2011, appeared in 25 matches and scored seven goals in his first three seasons with the top club. But he scored just 11 goals in two seasons as a regular with Los Dos.
McBean’s nine goals this season are two ahead of Louisville City FC’s Chandler Hoffman, a former Galaxy and Galaxy II teammate of McBean’s, for the USL lead.
Republic FC, on the other hand, is looking for an offensive spark. Buckle said injuries to Harry Williams, Mackenzie Pridham, Mark Sherrod and Octavio Guzman haven’t helped. The coach also expected to have San Jose Earthquakes forward Adam Jahn for a longer stint on loan than the 110 minutes he has played so far. But Jahn was needed in San Jose, where the Earthquakes have injury issues at forward, including Sherrod’s recent knee surgery.
“We’ve been disjointed in trying to get the same team on the field week in, week out,” Buckle said. “There hasn’t been that much continuity because of injury. Hopefully, we can now get a good bit of health and start to get the regular 11 on the field.”
Iwasa and Klimenta insist there is no drop in confidence.
“At the moment, the luck is not on our side, but that’s football,” Klimenta said. “Just look at Barcelona last month. One of the world’s greatest teams lost three games in a row. We just have got to be patient. Things are going to start clicking.”