In his first year as an Assistant Coach with the Seattle Sounders, Preki has made familiar stops on the road. In April, he went to Children’s Mercy Park – the home of Sporting KC – where his name is etched among the “Sporting Legends” in the corner of the stadium as the club’s all-time leading scorer. Last month, Preki traveled to BMO Field in Toronto, where he served as Head Coach in 2010.
This weekend, and for the second time in 2018 after a friendly in February, Preki comes back to Sacramento for Wednesday evening's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup meeting with Sacramento Republic FC. It was in this soccer-crazed city where Preki guided Sacramento Republic FC to a USL championship in its inaugural season in 2014. The 54-year-old from Yugoslavia played for 10 teams in a 23-year career and has coached at five more.
“Well, personally, for me it’s always exciting to be back [in Sacramento], given that I’ve been there and coached for a year and a half,” Preki told media on Tuesday morning after training. “Hopefully, this time around, we will have a good result, as well.”
Preki guided Sacramento Republic FC to a USL championship in 2014. | USA TODAY Sports
The Sounders topped Republic FC 3-1 in February’s friendly and called-up six players from S2 for Wednesday's match – all of whom are familiar with playing at Papa Murphy’s Park. Preki hopes a good performance against his old club will jumpstart the season for the Rave Green, even if this matchup comes outside of the MLS campaign.
“We expect to win,” Preki added. “We’re the MLS club and we should have enough within the squad to go down there and get a result. We’re going to need to have a good mentality.”