Republic FC has done nearly everything right during its inaugural USL Pro season.
The team smashed the league’s attendance records, filling Hughes Stadium for the first four matches and selling out every match after moving to Bonney Field at Cal Expo. It averaged 11,293, nearly 6,000 more than the runner-up, and impressed Major League Soccer so much that MLS officials came to Sacramento last week to discuss the possibility of expansion and to tour a potential stadium site.
Republic FC went 17-7-4 during the regular season, finishing second, then won both playoff matches to advance to Saturday’s league championship against the Harrisburg (Pa.) City Islanders at Bonney Field.
But the team came close to being hit with a yellow card before making the right call Monday.
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When Republic FC began selling season tickets, the package included 14 regular-season matches, three friendlies and three playoff matches, with a promise to refund the playoff matches if the team didn’t qualify.
In July, when it seemed unlikely the team would have a shot at hosting a third playoff match – the USL Pro championship – officials substituted another friendly (against West Bromwich Albion on July 25) for one of the playoff matches.
But when the team announced, following Saturday’s 3-2 victory over LA Galaxy II in the semifinals, that season-ticket holders would have “priority to purchase their seats” – that the championship match was not included in the season-ticket package – some fans cried unsportsmanlike conduct.
On Monday, the team released a letter from the owners that said season-ticket holders would be given their seats to the championship “complimentary” of the team, but they would have to go online to claim and print them. Tickets marked “playoff match 3” in ticket books, the team said, would not be valid.
While we have a quibble with the use of “complimentary” – if you paid for it, how can it be free? – we applaud the team for honoring the original commitment of three playoff matches.
It was another smart decision in a season full of them.
Remaining tickets – perhaps as many as 1,000 – will be available at 10 a.m. today via ticketmaster.com.
– Tom Couzens
How many Republic FC matches have you attended this season ?
• All of them, including friendlies and playoffs
• More than 15
• Fewer than five
Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports
What other jersey
numbers should be
retired by the Kings?
• Mike Bibby, No. 10: 20%
• Reggie Theus, 24: 12%
• None: 68%
Total votes: 381