Few positional groups in the entire league performed as well as Republic FC’s backline in 2022. Mainly in part to a deep unit of center-backs, the club was among the best in preventing pressure on its goalkeepers and elite at breaking up opposing attacks. Ahead of 2023, the club plans to keep those areas a strength, fortifying the defensive unit this offseason. Get to know Sacramento’s center backs ahead of the club’s 10th season.
Donovan was one of the club’s leaders in 2022, pushing his teammates harder, setting an example, and executing at a high level more consistently than maybe no other player. He came to Sacramento following a stellar 2021 with Oklahoma City where he was one of just three individuals league-wide to play every minute, and delivered the City’s indomitable fans everything they expected they would get and more. His 2022 season started slow due to injury, logging just 11 minutes and appearing in only two of the club’s first five matches. But from April 23 to the end of the season, he appeared in 25 of the club’s remaining 29 games and was left off the starting XI just once. His name was in the lineup each time the club recorded a clean sheet.
His contributions led him to being voted Defensive MVP by his teammates following the season – a nod to his toughness, leadership, consistency and knack for the big time stop. In 2023, he’ll be relied upon to show the same poise, stable presence and strong leadership no matter the opponent.
Flanking Donovan on the left, returning from a heel injury and phenomenal debut year in North America, Desmond is aching to give his all in a sophomore effort. In his second year, he should be well adjusted to the style of play opponents bring on a weekly basis, and will without a doubt continue to be one of the club’s leaders on and off the pitch.
In 2022, the Irishman finished tied for the club lead in clearances (67), and second in interceptions (48). Even after being thrust into a starting role after a limited preseason, he excelled, fitting in perfectly alongside fellow countrymen Dan Casey and Conor Donovan. He was a stalwart for Mark Briggs when available for selection – starting all but one match he appeared in across 21 league games.
The first to join the returning center backs for the 2023 season was Timmer, coming from Eastern Conference club Indy Eleven. He brings a…