The Monarchs are idle this weekend before finishing the regular season on the road next weekend in Fresno. However, thanks to their 2-1 victory over OKC Energy FC on Wednesday featuring a great two goal performance by Sebastian Saucedo they took a large step toward ensuring a home match in the first round of the USL Western Conference playoffs.
Currently in 4th place with 57 points, the Monarchs have no chance of catching either 1st place Orange County SC (63 points) or 2nd place Phoenix Rising FC (62 points). While it remains possible for the Monarchs to pass 3rd place Sacramento Republic FC who have 59 points, it would require a Monarchs’ victory against Fresno and Sacramento to get no more than a single point out of its two final matches against LA Galaxy II at Stub Hub and Las Vegas Lights FC at home. In other words, a Republic victory against Los Dos on Saturday will be enough to ensure that the Monarchs finish no higher than 4th place.
Reno 1868 FC is the current 5th place team with 55 points and the only team that could still possible move up over the Monarchs. Like Sacramento they have two matches remaining, however their matches are against 2nd place Phoenix in Tempe and then 1st place Orange County back home at Greater Nevada Field in Reno. Winners in four of their last 5 matches, Reno is flying high and a victory in Tempe on Saturday would push them over the Monarchs into 4th place.
Victories by both Sacramento and Reno on Saturday will ensure that the first round playoff match between fourth and fifth place will be between Real Monarchs SLC and Reno 1868 FC, but fourth place and the rights to home field will still be in play for the final weekend. During the regular season, Reno was a 3-0 victor at Greater Nevada Field while the Monarchs took the second match 2-1 at Zions Bank Stadium.
Should Reno falter against the top two teams and gain no further points in their final two matches, Portland Timbers 2 could tie them for 5th place with a victory of their own over Phoenix Rising FC in Tempe on the final weekend. Timbers 2 would hold the first tie breaker and become the 4th place Monarchs first round opponent at Zions Bank Field.