The quest for the first trophy in Club history continues on Wednesday. LAFC's U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 opponent is a familiar one in USL side Sacramento Republic FC.
These two teams faced each other in preseason, when LAFC was still filling out much of its roster, but a 1-0 win for the Black & Gold in Sacramento should give the hosts confidence with a quarterfinal spot on the line. Here's a look at what to expect:
Where To Watch/Listen
LAFC vs Sacramento Republic FC, June 20 at 7:30pm PT
TV: Streaming on USsoccer.com and LAFC.com
Radio: Streaming via the ESPN Radio app
Sacramento Republic FC is in the Round of 16 at the expense of the Seattle Sounders. Republic FC took a 1-0 lead through Cameron Iwasa in the 60th minute, but were unable to hold off Seattle's late advances. Harry Shipp equalized for the Sounders in stoppage time. But in extra time, Jure Matjašič put Republic FC ahead for good, as they knocked Seattle out of the tournament.
In league play, Sacramento currently sit in third in USL's Western Conference. Despite a 1-0 loss to San Antonio last Saturday, Republic FC have had a strong month of June with three wins, one draw, one loss in all competitions.
What The Players Are Saying
Walker Zimmerman on how dangerous Sacramento is after knocking out Seattle: "That was important for them. They need the confidence that they can compete, especially as a team trying to become an MLS franchise. For them, this is a huge tournament. Each game is really important for them, their fanbase, and for the players. They're always trying to impress, trying to catch the eye of MLS coaches. So for us, we have to make sure we approach the game with confidence and take it seriously."
Aaron Kovar on having another home match in the Open Cup: "It's awesome we get to play two games in a row at home. We just want to keep it going. You don't have to win many games to win this trophy, so its this Club's first opportunity to win some hardware."
LAFC Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3): Tyler Miller; Tristan Blackmon, Dejan Jaković, Walker Zimmerman, Jordan Harvey; Eduard Atuesta, Calum Mallace, Lee Nguyen; Aaron Kovar, Adama Diomande, Latif Blessing.
What To Watch For
The Game Changer: Latif Blessing loves the Open Cup. And he loves scoring in it. Last year, he scored three goals in Sporting KC's run to the trophy. With LAFC, the forward picked up where he left off, scoring the second goal in the Club's 2-0 win over Fresno FC last round. Look for him to be active in and around goal for LAFC against Sacramento.
Rested And Ready: The Round of 16 match comes after LAFC had a mini-break for the World Cup. The Black & Gold have been away from the pitch since a 4-3 comeback win in San Jose on June 9. They should be rested and ready for their return to Banc of California Stadium.
Familiar Foe: LAFC traveled to Sacramento in its final match of the preseason. A 1-0 win wrapped LAFC's preseason preparations before its inaugural MLS season. But how much can you take away from a preseason match? The trip to Sacramento was LAFC's first "road" test and a good team building exercise before the Club started the season with six matches on the road. All that being said, that team, despite similar personnel, was very different than the side we've seen in MLS this season. And conversely, Republic FC have gone through changes of their own this season as well. We'll see if either side can take anything from that previous matchup.