Real Monarchs SLC are still looking for their first USL playoff victory following their 1-0 loss Saturday afternoon at Zions Bank Stadium. 3000 fans watched a back and forth struggle which remained scoreless into stoppage time in the second half, only to deflate as a cross from Duke Lacroix found Brian Brown running free in the box. Brown, Reno’s all time leading scorer, made no mistake and headed it into the back of the net in the fourth minute of stoppage time for the late victory.
The first half of the match saw the Monarchs come out in a more defensive posture than usual at home as they attempted to weather the early Reno pressure and avoid giving up an early game. Following a knock and subsequent treatment very early in the match, Stanley Okumo went to ground for the second time in the 8th minute during the stoppage for a Reno corner kick and was replaced by Taylor Peay, down on loan from RSL. Several minutes later James Moberg went down as well following a scrum in the box and was out for several minutes receiving treatment.
Reno 1868 dominated possession in the first half seeing 65% and nearly double the passes of the Monarchs, but much of that was around the back and unproductive. Both teams managed 5 shots in the half, but only the Monarchs had shots on target which forced saves from Reno’s keeper, Matt Bersano, who was on loan from San Jose along with Chris Wehan. For the Monarchs, Connor Sparrow, also down on loan from RSL, finished the half without much effort. Both sides could go into the locker room content with facets of their first half performance.
At half, Moberg was determined to unable to continue and Konrad Plewa came in pushing Peay off to the right fullback position. The Monarchs came out with a press of their own in the second half looking to end the match in regular time. The pace began to pick up both sides managed to keep the pressure fairly constant through the entire half, The Monarchs forced Bersano into another four saves of shots by Sebastian Velasquez and Masta Kacher while Sparrow had two of his own, The Monarchs seemed on the verge of a game winner, until Brown’s header in the 4th minute of stoppage time put a end to the Monarchs season.
As Interim Head Coach Jamison Olave put it after the match:
As the Monarchs move into the off season it is worth remembering the great new facility that they opened this year and their second straight trip to the USL Cup playoffs. Once again Interim Head Coach Olave: