Last month, Republic FC president Warren Smith boasted that the USL Pro expansion team’s first match in Sacramento would draw at least 20,000 fans to Hughes Stadium.
“When we host over 20,000 fans at Hughes Stadium on April 26,” Smith told The Bee early last month, “soccer fans around the world” will know about Republic FC and Sacramento’s passion for soccer.
Fans might not fill all of Hughes’ 20,311 seats for Saturday’s match against Harrisburg (Pa.) City Islanders, but the team will break the league’s regular-season record, based on the number of tickets already sold, according to team officials, who expect between 15,000 and 20,000 fans to attend. Orlando (Fla.) City SC holds the record of 10,697 at the Florida Citrus Bowl on Aug. 11, 2013.
Orlando City also holds the overall single-match attendance record of 20,886 on Sept. 7, 2013, for the USL Pro championship, also at the Citrus Bowl. Orlando City has been awarded an MLS franchise that will begin play in 2015.
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Republic FC’s first three home matches will be played at Hughes Stadium while a facility is constructed at Cal Expo. The team is expected to make its debut at Bonney Field on June 7 against Arizona United SC.
– Tom Couzens