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Sacramento Is Underdog To Land MLS Team

Al Gibes / Capital Public Radio

Bonney Stadium is the new home for Sacramento Republic FC. All matches played at the 8,000 seat stadium have been sell-outs.

Al Gibes / Capital Public Radio

The team plays in the USL-PRO League - a step below Major League Soccer. Sacramento Republic FC is in its first year, is fourth in the standings and set a single-game attendance record when it sold out 22,000 seat Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College.

Team President Warren Smith says Republic FC wants to join MLS, but when it comes to expansion, the team is on the outside looking in.

"They said they'll add four franchises by the end of the year 2020," he says. "They've already given two (franchises to cities) and a third conditionally to Miami upon their ability to perform on a stadium. We're being told we're behind another city in Minneapolis."

Smith says the team hopes to present its case for Sacramento as an expansion city to MLS this fall. Republic FC is also creating a new ownership group, and is working to identify the best place to build a new soccer stadium - likely in downtown Sacramento.

"You know all we can do is focus on the work that we have to do moving three separate trains down three separate tracks, get them to the station and ask MLS to get on board," he says.

The team sold out three of the four matches played at the college and has sold out all of its matches at the new 8,000-seat Bonney Field at Cal Expo. 

The team plans to expand seating to as much as 14,000 next season.

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