There might be no better opponent to test Republic FC’s resolve to play better on the road than the Oklahoma City Energy FC.
Sacramento is playing today at 5 p.m. at renovated 7,500-seat Taft Stadium. Last year, Republic FC lost twice by 2-0 scores to Energy FC playing at an Oklahoma City high school stadium.
“For whatever reason that place has been difficult for us to get a result,” Republic FC coach Preki said. “Hopefully this time around we’ll come prepared to play better there.”
Republic FC has won back-to-back USL matches, including 1-0 on the road last Sunday at L.A. Galaxy II. Sacramento also beat the semi-pro Sonoma County Sol 4-2 behind Tommy Stewart’s hat trick in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday.
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Republic FC is 6-4-0 – 2-3-0 on the road – and can move back into first place in the Western Conference with a win. The Seattle Sounders FC 2 (6-3-1, 19 points), a 2-0 winner over the Portland Timbers FC 2 on Friday, has a one-point lead.
Energy FC, coming off a 2-2 tie against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 last Sunday, hasn’t won a USL match since April 18 when it beat Seattle 2-1. In the U.S. Open Cup, Energy FC beat the Midland/Odessa Sockers 3-1.
Energy FC (2-2-3) is tied for eighth place in the Western Conference.
Danni Konig, who played last season in the Danish Superliga, leads Energy FC with four goals and two assists. The team is coached by former Sporting Kansas City FC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
Midfielder Rodrigo Lopez has been the catalyst for Republic FC’s recent USL success. He has six goals and three assists in the last seven USL matches and leads the USL with 17 points. He is tied for the USL career assists lead (22) with Kevin Molino, now with Orlando City SC in Major League Soccer.
Republic FC goalkeeper Patrick McLain leads the USL with four shutouts. He’s leading a defense that has played the last 202 minutes in USL action without allowing a goal.