Mike Petke has already stated that he’ll be calling on some Monarchs players to take the field in this game, given that the Monarchs aren’t allowed in the tournament due to Open Cup rule changes in recent years. Not to mention the fact that the Monarchs are on a record-tying eight-game winning streak, sit 11-1-0 overall in USL play, and already beat Sacramento by a score of 2-0 when the two teams met back on May 13th.
Unfortunately, a CBA rule prohibits an MLS team from calling up players from its USL affiliate who are over 26 years old, which rules out Chandler Hoffman and Sebastian Velazquez from seeing any time on the field for RSL in Open Cup play.
Sacramento — who have been pushing toward an MLS expansion bid for quite some time — will be no easy place to play. While they’re not performing as well this year in USL play as they have in the past (4-6-3, 10th place in the West), they still have a bevy of talented young players who are capable of taking down a team at any time and already have a USL Championship under their belt as they took the title home in 2014.
Key players and personnel
It will be interesting to see who Petke decides to call upon from the Monarchs and what kind of mixture of players he puts out on the field for a starting eleven. We know that Albert Rusnak is off the table while he’s out on international duty with the Slovakia U-21 national team, and while other injured players seem to be slowly making their way back to fitness (Demar Phillips, Jordan Allen), it’s probably in Petke’s best interest to field a Monarchs-heavy lineup and save many of the RSL guys for their match-up against Minnesota this weekend.
Looking at the Monarchs roster, there are plenty of guys who would be deserving of getting time on the field, such as forward Andrew Brody, midfielder Nick Besler, or left back and 2016 RSL draft pick Max Lachowecki, who have all helped the Monarchs rise to the number one spot in the USL Western Conference while holding an impressive goal differential of +19.
On the Sacramento side, they’re full of young talent and have some players who have played at the highest level, such as Jeremy Hall, a midfielder who played for several MLS clubs including Toronto FC, FC Dallas, and the New York Red Bulls before he was signed by the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2016, and subsequently was sent to Sacramento on loan, who later signed him for the 2017 season.
Sacramento also has Sammy Ochoa on their roster, a forward who played for the Seattle Sounders from 2011-2013 and scored three goals in 17 appearances. Ochoa played with USL side Tusla Roughnecks where he scored 20 goals through 54 appearances before landing in Sacramento for the 2017 season. In only two appearances for Republic FC, he’s managed to notch three goals.
The winner of this fourth-round match will face a to-be-determined team following a US Soccer draw on Thursday.
When: Wednesday, June 14, 9:00PM MT
Where: Papa Murphy’s Park — Sacramento, CA
Broadcast: Live stream on RSL.com