Republic FC’s Preki blasts USL scheduling

Republic FC’s Rodrigo Lopez celebrates one of his three goals in last season’s playoff win over the LA Galaxy II.
Republic FC’s Rodrigo Lopez celebrates one of his three goals in last season’s playoff win over the LA Galaxy II. Sacramento Bee file

Republic FC coach Preki said the USL did his team no favors with early-season scheduling.

Sacramento (5-4-0, 15 points), tied for the Western Conference lead with the Orange County Blues FC (5-2-0), will play rival LA Galaxy II on Sunday for the third time this season in Carson.

The defending USL champion has played eight of its first nine matches against Major League Soccer-affiliated teams, including two against Seattle. The Sounders 2 are tied for third place with Galaxy II and the Austin Aztex (4-3-1, 13 points) entering Friday night’s match against the OKC Energy. Sacramento also has played two matches against the Portland Timbers 2 (3-3-1, 10 points), who are tied with Arizona United SC for sixth in the highly competitive 12-team conference.

Republic FC’s only non-affiliate matchup was its 2-1 loss in April to rejuvenated Orange County in the rain at Bonney Field.

“It’s an incredible disappointment we’re playing Galaxy II for the third time in 10 games,” Preki said. “That’s unbelievable. We’ve played Seattle twice and Portland twice. That’s not easy. It’s disappointing that we’re playing the same teams over and over.”

5-1-1 Republic FC’s all-time record against LA Galaxy

Sacramento defeated Los Angeles 3-2 in Carson on March 28 on a stoppage-time goal by Rodrigo Lopez. Republic FC topped the Galaxy II 3-1 in Sacramento’s league home opener on April 11 at Bonney Field. Republic FC has a three-match winning streak over the Galaxy II dating to its 3-2 “Miracle at Bonney” victory in a playoff semifinal last season.

But Los Angeles is hot after starting the season 0-3-1. The Galaxy II has won its last four matches, including 2-0 on Wednesday night against the Tulsa Roughnecks. Ariel Lassiter and Jack McBean had goals and Raul Mendiola added his USL-leading seventh assist. Lassiter is the son of former United States men’s national team and MLS star Roy Lassiter.

Republic FC is 5-1-1 all-time against Los Angeles, including 2-0-1 in Carson. Sacramento defender Mickey Daly can only speculate why.

“It’s always a battle whenever we play them,” Daly said of the Galaxy II. “It’s always a little heated rivalry. It seems against them we finish our chances and they don’t finish the one or two chances they get. Sometimes the ball just rolls our way.”

The March 28 win over the Galaxy II is Republic FC’s only road victory in four matches, something that wasn’t lost on Preki or the players after beating the Sounders 2 3-0 on Saturday at Bonney Field.

“We’ve got to find a way to start building on this away from home,” Preki said. “When we come to play, we are a pretty good team. We’ve got to have that mentality, when we go into different places, to control the game.”