With the 2-2 draw against Austin Bold FC on Wednesday, the Monarchs increased their lead over Orange County FC to two points and El Paso Locomotive to three points with but a single match remaining for all three teams. A full three points against the Republic on Saturday afternoon will be enough to ensure a home quarterfinal match next weekend, but any other result leaves an opening for the two other sides.
A draw with Sacramento during the afternoon will leave Orange County with something to play for against 2nd place Fresno tomorrow evening, but it will require them to outscore the Monarchs by 6 goals to overcome the goal differential and host the Monarchs. A loss against Sacramento would allow Orange County to jump over the Monarchs and El Paso to possible tie the Monarchs and a drop them to 6th place if they can outscore the Monarchs by 7 goals.
Meanwhile Sacramento Republic FC comes into Zions Bank Stadium fighting to move up from 7th place and a midweek game to even make it on to the quarterfinals next weekend. Sacramento has six road victories this season but have one gone 1-2-2 in the past five matches and desperately need to turn the tide before the playoffs.
The two sides fought to a 1-1 draw on the opening weekend in Sacramento and now face each other again on the final weekend. Republic FC has historically had trouble against Real Monarchs with only two victories in twelve total matches and could prove to be distracted by the news about probable MLS and NWSL team announcements in the near future.
The Monarchs will be near full strength with time for Douglas Martinez and Maikel Chang to reestablish the partnership which has led to 28 of the team’s 58 goals. The Monarchs will aslo receive support from parent club RSL for this crucial match. This ability to break down a strong defensive side and establish a presence in the midfield will likely prove necessary to come away with a final victory in the regular season.
Kick is at 1 PM tomorrow and the team is offering a great deal on tickets and a round trip bus ride out Herriman for those wanting to support Real Salt Lake tomorrow evening against Portland. It will leave plenty of time for you to enjoy tailgating at Rio Tinto and discuss plans for the coming week. The match will also be streamed live on ESPN+ and available for later review.