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PRE-SEASON U.S TOUR: Sacramento Republic Vs Sunderland A.F.C

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Preview of our second pre-season game of the season against Sacramento Republic at Bonney Field. Wednesday, 15th July, Kick Off; 04:00(GMT +1).

Preview

The first game of our US Tour begins with a difficult challenge against Sacramento Republic in the searing California heat. Republic are currently flying high and fighting fit lying 2nd in the US second tier(United Soccer League Western Conference) despite their 4-0 defeat to LA Galaxy II on Saturday.

Sunderland on the other hand have completed just one pre-season game and have recently arrived in the country off the back of a 14 hour flight. On paper it looks like a walk over but in reality it's an incredibly tough opening fixture of our US pre-season tour.

Team News

Sacramento Republic

Sacramento can boast a fully fit squad for the visit of Sunderland. Boss Paul Buckle will see this game as a blessing, giving him more time to assess his squad following back to back defeats, conceding 8 goals in his first two games as The Republic head coach.

Sunderland A.F.C

Jet lag and rust will be the biggest concern for the Black Cats in this opening game which will be a stern challange to the fitness levels.

Early reports claim Adam Johnson failed with his application for a visa and has not travelled with the squad, though that has yet to be officially confirmed. Of the players linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light, Liam Bridcutt and Will Buckley have both travelled while Santiago Vergini, Charis Mavrias and Valentin Roberge have stayed behind and will continue their pre-season with the U21 squad. Youngsters Duncan Watmore and Tom Beadling have both travelled.

Dick will again be expected to rotate his squad each half to help everyone get minutes under their belt.

One to Watch

Emanuele Giaccherini

This could be the most important pre-season of Giacc's career in what will be a make or break season for the Itallian. With more attacking signings on the horizon he'll be looking to stake his claim as early as possible to put himself in contention for a starting place going into the new season. Giacc impressed against Darlington bagging a couple of goals and getting much needed 90 minutes under his belt, however, a Sacramento Republic side already halfway through their season could limit him to 45 minutes.

About Sacramento Republic
Sacramento Republic, established in 2012, currently lie 2nd in the United Soccer League Western Conference after 9 wins, 3 Draws and 7 defeats. They play their football at the Bonney Field. A recently expanded 11,442  capacity stadium. Anybody who's made the long trip be sure to familiarise yourself with ground regulations and state laws here. Oh yeah, and it's plonked in the middle of a fun fair.

Sacramento have recently parted company with former head coach Preki, who has announced he's accepted a coaching role in the UK with a yet to be announced club, leading bookmakers to install him as favorite to become the next Leicester City boss for a short period. He's been replaced by last seasons Cheltenham Town Manager and ex Exeter City midfielder Paul Buckle who fell to back to back defeats in his first two games in charge.

Sacramento Republics' star performer is 27 year old right midfielder Rodrigo Lopez who's clocked up an impressive 16 goals in 29 Games following his 2012 winter transfer from Orange County Blues FC. The forward line is led by misfiring club captain Justin Braun who has netted just three goals in 17 appearances this term.

Coverage
Live coverage will be available on Sacramento Republics' YouTube channel here or here kick off 4am (GMT+1)