US Open Cup Final Preview; Sacramento Republic.
Updated: Sep 6
When? Wednesday September 7, 5 p.m. PT, 8 p.m. ET and 1 a.m. BST (8/9).
Where? Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL.
How can I catch the action? The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and via the app only.
The wait is finally over. Well, almost. Orlando City have a golden chance to end their wait for the club's first ever major domestic trophy. With out of form lower league opposition at home, there will never be a greater opportunity to carve the name 'Orlando City' onto this famous old trophy. A trophy, that is only junior to England's FA Cup. Its significance cannot be overstated.
Winning this game could be a game changer for Orlando City. This club has firmly established itself amongst the society of MLS clubs that usually frequent the play-offs. But to get their hands on silverware, that could be just the fillip to whet the club's appetite for further trophies. They won't want this to be a one-off.
Anyway, I realise I'm getting ahead of myself here. Sacramento Republic will have their own eyes on the prize and will want all the glory and accolades on offer. It's up to us to disappoint them.
In the interest of full disclosure, I've never seen Sacramento play. USL games aren't easy to find this side of the pond. That being said, I've been able to go over some highlights and stats on fotmob.com. Sacramento are having a great season so far; as well as making the US Open Cup final, they find themselves firmly ensconced in the USL Championship play-off places, despite some iffy recent form.
Their play-off push seems to have been largely built on a strong defence, conceding an average of 1.1 goals per game (figure 1) and only 29 in total; which is the second best record in their conference. Whilst they've scored 35 goals, they're not exactly prolific in terms of their ability to create chances; they rank 21st in the Championship for big chances created.
Figure 1 shows Sacramento's average goals conceded statistics.
Figure 2 shows Sacramento's rating for big chances created.
Sacramento have a fully available squad according to the club's official Twitter account.
Orlando City on the other hand, are set to be without Joey DeZart, Alexandre Pato and Jack Lynn. Robin Jansson is listed as questionable, although he has been training.
This section will be updated as new information becomes available.
Possible starting XI
Sacramento, from what I can gather, tend to line-up in a 4-4-2, which is what they used in their most recent outing against Louisville City:
Martinez is the club's joint leading scorer with 5 goals, he's also added a further 3 assists. The Honduran has been something of a journeyman thus far in his career. He seems to have found himself a home in California, featuring 28 times so far this season whilst amassing 1,485 minutes.
Sacramento Republic have been in indifferent form over recent weeks, having only won 2 of their last 6 games. They currently sit 4th in the USL Championship's western conference with a 12-7-8 record.
Orlando City, contrariwise, have won their last 4 games in MLS. Orlando currently sit 5th in the east, with a 12-6-10 record.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com.
Cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Line-up graphic courtesy of chosen11.com.