MLS hopefuls Sacramento Republic FC draw record crowd of 20,231 in USL PRO home opener

End result aside, Sacramento Republic FC have plenty to be proud of following their first-ever home game.

The USL PRO expansion club introduced itself to Sacramento in front of a USL PRO record crowd of 20,231 at Hughes Stadium for Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Harrisburg Islanders. That total was almost double the previous record of 10,697, which was set last season by MLS-bound franchise Orlando City.

"To get 20,000 people out here is incredible," Republic FC forward Adam Jahn, who is on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes and scored Sacramento's goal in the first half, told News10.net. "It just shows the following in Sacramento and it's going to be really exciting going forward."

The lofty attendance figure should help Republic FC in their quest to land an MLS franchise. A report in November detailed plans from Sacramento Republic FC president Warren Smith to gain entrance into MLS by 2016, and Republic FC are set to open a 8,000-seat stadium at Cal Expo later this year.

MLS has said previously that it will have 24 teams by the end of the decade. Atlanta was recently added as the 22nd franchise and Miami is poised to be the 23rd, but Sacramento's quest will be buoyed by the stellar turnout this weekend as they eye the potential for MLS expansion.

"It's good to be a part of this history and I know it's going to be a very bright future for this city and this club," Jahn said.