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“It’s Our Time to Punch First”, Sacramento Republic FC Need to Build Off the Last Weekend’s Momentum

Photo via the Sacramento Republic FC

This 2021 regular season has not gone according to plan for the Sacramento Republic FC. Considered one of the top clubs in the USL, Sacramento, currently sitting in sixth out of seven teams in the Pacific Division, knows they have to be much better. The club’s quality has not met expectations, and while coaches and players have actively avoided making excuses, what they really needed was a little bit of luck.

Saturday in San Diego, they finally got some.

Staring their 4th straight loss in the face, a last-ditch ball into the box found the head of defender Mitch Taintor at the back post, allowing Sacramento to escape San Diego with a point. It’s not a win, which the Republic haven’t experienced since May 12th, but securing a point in this fashion is exactly the breakthrough the club has been waiting for.

“You could see in the celebrations that, everyone was in that pile but everyone had different emotions. I think it showed that everyone had a lot bottled up, I certainly did,” said Taintor, “I just let out a scream for the whole time I was running. I feel like it was a breakthrough moment emotionally for the guys and it let everyone let everything out…hopefully we can carry that over and ride this wave for a while”.

“I waited because I didn’t see the ball hit the back of the net,” added head coach Mark Briggs, “I think the emotions just overtook everyone. Just a sigh of relief for everybody because it could be such a pivotal moment”.

The Republic have battled from behind in all but three of their matches this season. Slow starts and the inability to score has plagued the club to this point. The last three goals, including Taintor’s header on Saturday, have been scored by defenders.

For Briggs, Sunday’s result was significant because, “we actually played well. (The players) did everything that I asked of them. They’d given everything that I’d asked of them. But, we just haven’t been getting the rub of the green. They say you create your own luck and I felt we created it. The emotion of the players, of myself, the staff, was all just like ‘finally, yes!’ We got a little bit of good fortune and we made something happen ourselves”.

The Republic have an opportunity to build upon that momentum they created with a pair of winnable home matches on Wednesday and Saturday nights this week. The Oakland Roots, who Sacramento drew 3-3 with at Heart Health Park on June 2nd, will be the first test.

As great as Saturday’s moment in San Diego was, it means nothing if the Republic fail to build upon it. Not to mention, falling any further behind the leaders in this Pacific Division, could become an insurmountable deficit to make up.

“Now it’s our time to punch first,” said Taintor, “that’s been the message that Mark and the staff has said to us, and what the players have said. I think everyone is ready to go. We are going to be like bats out of hell and really go for it”.

“The big message from me last week was, lets go to San Diego and let’s get something. Let’s go back to Sacramento with a platform to build on. And that’s what we did. We came back with a point, now we have to build on it. Now we have to continue with the momentum we created and carry that forward,” said Briggs.

Kickoff between Sacramento and Oakland is scheduled for 8pm on Wednesday night.


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