REPORT (March 5, 2017) – Sacramento Republic FC had a preseason match against FC Cincinnati last night. The two MLS expansion hopefuls played to a 2-2- draw. But something was missing. Republic Defender Mike da Fonte was nowhere to be found. Something’s a foot.
Report: Sacramento Republic Defender Mike da Fonte To Join Colorado Rapids
Da Fonte is a University of Rio Grande product. He spent several years in lower division soccer before joining New York Red Bulls II in the USL in 2015. He then joined Sacramento in 2016. In two seasons in the USL, the 25-year-old has made 44 league appearances and scored 4 goals.
Evan Ream of the Davis Enterprise first reported that Da Fonte missed last night’s game because he’s on his way to Colorado. It’s unclear if that is for a trial or to sign. Da Fonte clearly showed last season that he’s an excellent center back at the USL level.
How he fits in with the Rapids is the question though. They’ve got 24 players on the roster as of Sunday night, with Jaime Siaj still in training but unsigned. They’ve got several open roster spots. But the Rapids are stacked at center back.
Axel Sjöberg and Jared Watts have earned their starting spots. Bobby Burling is a veteran bench (and sometimes starter) option. The club signed Kortne Ford to a Homegrown contract this off-season. That’s four center backs with good depth. For a standard 30-man roster, most teams usually have nine or ten defenders. As of now, they have nine defenders on their roster, but that is with Marlon Hairston listed as a defender/midfielder.
The Rapids clearly have space for Da Fonte on the roster. They clearly have space in their defensive core. It’s not clear whether or he’d get any playing time as probably the fifth center back on the depth chart. If that’s the case, he might get loaned down to the Charlotte Independence. Sacramento is probably still the better gig if you’re playing in the USL.
Still, if a first division opportunity comes calling, it’s hard to pass up that opportunity. A new twist may have been added when Da Fonte tweeted a picture of himself in Sacramento warm up gear. A bit ambiguous as the plot thickens. More to come on this as the story unfolds.