When I last wrote about Sacramento Republic FC, they had recently announced their double affiliation with the MLS teams San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers. In this agreement both teams agreed to send a minimum of two players each to Sacramento for the USL Pro season. So far, only the Portland Timbers have loaned the required number of players: Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and Defender Bryan Gallego. As these roster additions are just some of those made by the Republic in the run up to their inaugural season, I thought now would be a good time to take a look at the roster so far to see what we’ve got.
The announced signings so far have been: Rodrigo Lopez (Midfield), Mickey Daly (Defense), Justin Braun (Forward), Mawolo Gissie (Forward), Max Alvarez (Forward), Emrah Klimenta (Midfield), and the two loanees Gleeson (GK) and Gallego (Defender). For those of you keeping track at home that puts Sacramento at: one goalkeeper, two defenders, two midfielders, and three forwards. I’ll go over each player (in varying degrees of depth) going from back to front. First off, the goalkeeper.
Jake Gleeson- Born in New Zealand, Gleeson is 23 years old but already has a fair record. He was signed in 2011 by the Portland Timbers for their inaugural MLS season and made four appearances for them in the 2011 season, including the home opener which ended in a 4-2 victory for the young keeper. During the 2011 season he won two MLS Save of the Week Awards in just four appearances, an impressive feat for a player so young. Gleeson also has six caps with the senior New Zealand National Team.
Mickey Daly- All I could find on Daly is that he is a defender, and played on the Ventura County Fusion before Sacramento. Whether he will be featured as a center back or a full back is a mystery to me but I have a gut feeling that he will be playing centrally.
Bryan Gallego- Now this defender I actually know a little bit about. He was signed by the Timbers as a Homegrown Player January 15th with the homegrown rights that Portland got in a trade with New York in 2012. Fun fact: I believe that is the only instance of homegrown rights being traded so far in MLS history. He played for Akron before going pro and during his time there he played mostly center back.
Rodrigo Lopez- The first signing for the Republic, he last played for the Los Angeles Blues in USL Pro and also spent some years in MLS with Chivas USA and Portland. Last season he finished with 11 assists for the Blues and has been described as a set piece specialist by Republic Technical Director Graham Smith.
Emrah Klimenta- Klimenta was discovered during the open tryouts held by the Republic and was invited back to invitation-only combines, eventually getting a contract offer. According to the Sacramento Republic’s website, he has professional experience in Germany and Turkey, but played most recently for an NPSL side in the United States.
Justin Braun- A big, strong forward with considerable MLS experience, Braun comes to Sacramento after being released from his contract with Toronto FC. During his six years in MLS Braun scored 26 goals in 131 appearances. He played for Chivas USA (he was actually discovered by current Republic coach Preki during his time managing Chivas USA), Montreal Impact, Real Salt Lake, and Toronto FC. He looks to be a major part of the upcoming season as he has had by far the most MLS success than any other player on the roster currently. Having played under Preki before certainly doesn’t hurt either.
Mawolo Gisse- This 17 year old comes to Sacramento from the New England Revolution’s academy program. In the 2011-2012 season he scored 15 goals and 8 assists for the New England U-16s, leading the team in both categories. His best attribute is reported to be his speed, which is always a welcome quality in a forward. Under Coach Preki he should be able to develop other aspects of his game as well. The prospect of him pairing with Justin Braun is interesting, with Braun’s strength occupying the opposition’s defense and opening up holes for Gissie to exploit.
Max Alvarez- Last but not least is Sacramento State Alum Max Alvarez. He was featured in the Sac Pro Soccer day game vs. the San Jose Reserves at Raley Field last year and left an impression on me with his performance. He was one of the better players on the field for both teams and I love that he has been added to the roster. He is a technical player and good with his feet and I’m excited to see what he can do at the professional level.
Now that I’ve broken down the players that are on the roster, I’ll take a quick look at those that may be on their way from San Jose as part of the affiliation agreement. One player that seems to be a certain loanee for Sacramento is Sam Garza. He is a quick winger who has looked good at times (namely the first part of his rookie season and the 2012 US Open Cup) but he has not been able to get consistent playing time. That is something that should be easier to come to in USL Pro than in MLS. A loan would allow Garza to get his confidence up and it would give Sacramento a good winger to use.
Other players that could be on their way to the capital are local Tommy Thompson, Mike Fucito, and Adam Jahn. Thompson is an exciting young player who was just signed as a San Jose’s first Homegrown Player. The chances of him coming to the Republic on loan may not be too good though, as the Earthquakes have said that they expect him to make a contribution to their first team (something that in my opinion he is certainly capable of).
Fucito is the most likely of the trio to be loaned out as he has seen barely any playing time for the Earthquakes and is behind the other striker I listed, Adam Jahn, on the depth chart. Fucito’s main attribute is his quickness, which could prove useful if the 17 year old Gissie is not ready for a starting role.
Jahn saw a lot of time at the beginning of San Jose’s last season during their striker injury crisis but saw that time dwindle towards the end of the season. He is sitting behind at least three forwards at San Jose (Wondolowski, Lenhart, and Gordon) and could be looking elsewhere for playing time.
On a non-roster related note, the Republic will be playing a preseason friendly against UC Davis on March 16th on the UC Davis campus at 4:00 PM. Tickets are available here. I’m thinking of going and if you live in the area you should too. After all, a chance to see the Republic play and a chance to see Davis lose is one that cannot be passed up (Go Hornets!).
Joshua Beeman (DJ Josh) is a newer DJ on KSSU.com and is in his semester in the station. If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment below. And be sure to listen in to Just Joshing You, Thursday mornings at 10am for great music and more local soccer news (once the USL-PRO season starts anyway).