Profile: All you need to know about Sunderland’s opponents Sacramento Republic

Sunderland are touring North America this pre-season
Sunderland are touring North America this pre-season
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Sunderland are set to take on American side Sacramento Republic in the first match of their tour of North America.

But just who are they?

Sacramento Republic were formed in 2012 and play at the Bonney Field stadium, which has a capacity of 11,242.

Dick Advocaat’s Sunderland side play them in their first friendly of the tour at 8pm local time tonight, or 4am our time - so set your alarms!

And supporters can follow all the updates live from North America via our blog by clicking here.

Sacramento Republic are coached by former Torquay United, Bristol Rovers and Cheltenham Town boss Paul Buckle.

The Californian team are the current champions of the United Soccer League, the sport’s third tier in America. They are midway through their 2015 season, and turned to Buckle to replace recently-departed Predrag Radosavljevic.

The Belgrade-born former Everton and Portsmouth midfielder, better known by his nickname of Preki, left Sacramento last week.

And Buckle’s first game in charge of the joint-leaders of the United Soccer League Western Conference is against Advocaat’s Sunderland.

The Republic were a storming success in 2014 – their first season – winning 17 of 28 games and finishing second in the table, seven points behind Orlando City.

However, in the play-offs the side really shone, beating the Harrisburg City Islanders in the final to be crowned champions.

The Republic conceded an average of just a goal a game during their league season, ending the regular schedule with a plus 21 goal difference.

And they will prove tough opposition for Advocaat’s Sunderland side, with Rodrigo Lopez - the franchise’s first-ever signing - identified as one to watch.

All but one of the Republic’s home games in 2014 sold out, with an 182,107 season total again comfortably beating previous league records.

The 2015 USL campaign features 24 teams split into an Eastern and Western Conference format.

Sacramento are one of three representatives from California, with the others being LA Galaxy II and Orange County Blues.

Sunderland join West Bromwich Albion and Rangers, who have previously played the Republic in friendly matches.

* The Black Cats will play matches against Sacramento, Club de Futbol Pachuca and Toronto FC on their tour of North America.

The first game of the tour sees Sunderland take on Sacramento Republic at 4am UK time on Wednesday.

Supporters can follow all the updates live from North America via our blog by clicking here.

Reporter Chris Young will be following the Black Cats in the USA and Canada as Sunderland continue their preparations ahead of the new Premier League campaign.