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What we learned from Real Monarchs' home opener

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Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Braeback, Stumptown Footy

Real Monarchs played their first home game of what will hopefully be a long, storied existence, drawing 1-1 with Portland Timbers in a rain-soaked match. There's a lot we can take away from that game.

While it would be awfully easy to just say something like 'rain is wet and cold' as something we've learned, we should probably exercise a little restraint and give more serious answers.

The midfield has room to improve

This isn't necessarily a knock against any specific player, but there were too many times — especially in the first half, and they've made it clear that they recognized that fact — when the midfield took too long to find a pass to a player further up the field. This has a stymying effect on the build-up of play, and it's something that we might see this new 4-3-3 as something it tries to actively work against.

With the shape in the second half being somewhat amorphous — as is prone to happen when 9 or 10 players are in the opposition half — it becomes a little harder to spot those killer passes. Still, the build-up, especially in the last 30 minutes, improved substantially.

Uncertainty in shape

Until Riley McGovern entered the match late on as a right winger — making it already the third position he's played in competitive matches for the team — there wasn't a whole lot of success found switching the ball from flank to flank.

As an attempt to break up a static Portland Timbers defense, it nearly paid dividends several times, but only with McGovern's presence. Too often before that, there wasn't a player there for the crossed ball, and it had a negative effect on play.

Justen Glad's return

Justen Glad, with his goalscoring and all, deserves a lot of credit — especially considering it was his first match back from injury in a self-described six-month span. That he did as well as he did is telling of his quality, but he wasn't perfect defensively. That'll come with time, and for now, we should be glad he's fit again.