SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The glass shoe has never fit Sacramento so well. Once again, Republic FC is moving on in the U.S. Open Cup after beating another California MLS team this week.
“We own MLS at this point!” joked Sharon Anderson, a Republic FC season ticket holder and host of the State of the Republic podcast.
At this point, it may be hard to argue. Sacramento has beaten the San Jose Earthquakes and the Los Angeles Galaxy en route to their first semifinal appearance in the tournament. They are the first non-MLS team to make it to the final four since 2017. Only one lower-division team, the Rochester Rhinos in 1999, has won the cup outright.
Head Coach Mark Briggs said the run has been a nice boost for the club and the city by extension.
“It promotes Sacramento, it promotes the city, the club,” he said at Sacramento International Airport fresh off a victory flight. “What we have here is a special club.”
Of course, that question will always rear its head: does this change anything in relation to Sacramento’s Major League Soccer situation? In short, no. The club itself doesn’t feel it matters right now amid a historic cup run.
Fans and players have given the impression that this is a revenge tour of sorts but club officials are more interested in the now than trying to project the variance of the future. Instead, they’re fully invested in USL as well as the possibilities of the club in one of the cities’ biggest dreams come to life: the Railyards project.
The largest urban infill project west of the Mississippi River and one of the largest in the United States is starting to see buildup in recent months. The Republic FC, despite the loss of their key MLS investor Ron Burkle and the promise of a top-flight stadium along with him, are still in talks for a proposed venue in the middle of the development. Downtown Sacramento Partnership Executive Director Michael Ault is feeling ready.
“We’re excited about it,” he said. “We feel like there’s a lot of validation in these investments being made. This project would absolutely complement the investments that are taking place here.”
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a statement:
“I could not be prouder of this amazing team, of the fans that traveled down all the way down to Los Angeles for the game, and of the entire organization for showing time and time again we are a world-class soccer city. We’ve beaten two MLS teams now in this tournament and I have a great feeling that we’re not done yet. We continue to work hard on new stadium plans in the Railyards for our beloved Sac Republic and hope to have a positive update to share with you in the near future.”
The team has released preliminary renderings as residential buildings begin to pop up in the Railyards area. Fans are excited about the prospect of a new home for their team and believe this cup run is adding more fans that will hopefully fill stands on downtown summer nights.
“With all the developers chomping at the bit to do something at the Railyards, this is the icing on the cake,” Anderson said with a smile. “It’s happening.”