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Republic FC acquires midfielder Justin Portillo via transfer from FC Tulsa

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/06/24, 1:00PM EDT


Veteran midfielder ranks in Top 15 in league history in appearances, minutes and assists

Sacramento Republic FC has acquired midfielder Justin Portillo via transfer from FC Tulsa. | Photo courtesy Victor Schwanke / FC Tulsa

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC announced on Thursday the club had acquired midfielder Justin Portillo via transfer from fellow USL Championship club FC Tulsa to transfer Justin Portillo. Per club policy, the terms of the contract were not disclosed. Portillo will be available for selection this Saturday as Republic FC faces Monterey Bay F.C. at Cardinale Stadium.

The 11-year pro signed with FC Tulsa ahead of the 2024 season following two years with New Mexico United where he led the Black and Yellow to back-to-back postseason berths. In 10 appearances in Tulsa, Portillo recorded one goal and two assists. In two seasons with New Mexico, he scored 14 goals and added 10 assists in 71 appearances across all competitions. He led all New Mexico players with 119 chances created from 2022-2023 and ranked fifth across the league during the two-year period.

The New Orleans native made his professional debut with Charleston Battery in 2014 where he played for four seasons, making 113 total appearances and recording 19 goals and 10 assists. After Charleston, Portillo signed with Real Monarchs SLC, where he played under current Republic FC Head Coach Mark Briggs and was named Team MVP in his first season.

The following year, he played a key role in Monarchs’ USL Championship title-winning run, adding two goals and four assists, with one assist coming in the USL Championship Final against Louisville City FC. The following year he became the eighth player to make the jump from Monarchs to its MLS affiliate Real Salt Lake. He spent three years in MLS, maintaining an 81.5% passing accuracy across 472 minutes.

Portillo’s career numbers place him among the league’s top 15 in minutes, assists, and appearances – 244 all-time appearances, 20,139 minutes played, and 38 assists. He has also created 306 chances with an 86.9% passing accuracy mark across his career.


Justin Portillo’s addition to Republic FC’s squad serves as a replacement in the midfield corps following the season-ending injury suffered by Rodrigo Lopez in May, and while the two players’ skillsets differ in some ways the quality Portillo can bring in open play and set pieces figures to be valuable piece for Sacramento Head Coach Mark Briggs for the remainder of this season.

Portillo has been one of the league’s best dead-ball takers over his career. Since the start of the 2022 season he ranks fifth in chances created with 133, trailing only Aaron Molloy, Cam Lindley, Kenardo Forbes and Charlie Dennis. He has also scored five goals directly from set pieces since the start of the 2017 season, has been close to automatic from the penalty spot, scoring 23 of 25 career spot kicks, and as a distributor provides a calm head that should fit in well with Republic FC’s overall style.

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