The Monarchs head into their first match at Cheney Stadium, the new Tacoma home of Seattle Sounders 2, without much of the support in terms of personnel that they have been able to enjoy so far this season. Faced with injuries and a short turn around time of his own, RSL head coach Mike Petke has elected to have Danny Acosta, Nick Besler, Jose Hernandez and Pablo Ruiz travel with the parent squad to New York City. This will force Mark Briggs to move deeper into his own squad and perhaps offer season debuts to some who have yet to take the field this season.
Seattle’s USL squad has struggled to find goals this season and was shutout in the previous two matches at home against Fresno and on the road in Sacramento. David Estrada, a 30-year-old midfielder who spent a number of seasons with the parent club back in 2010-2014 before leaving for a tour of several NASL and USL clubs, is back on a USL contract with Sounders 2 and leads the club with 2 goals scored in the loss to Swope Park Rangers. The only other goals so far this season were during the opening day match with Portland Timbers 2 where Felix Chenkam and Nicholas Hinds each scored a single goal.
Head Coach John Hutchinson took over Sounders 2 in the off season and has instituted a stable 4-2-3-1 formation while still offering a opportunity for 24 players to see the field in the first four matches. Only six of the those have made appearances in all four matches and only 2 have started each. Ibrahim Usman and Denso Ulysse, the two defensive halfbacks have been the only consistent starters.
In recent matches Sounders 2 have moved to a more defensive style and seemed content to allow their opponents the bulk of possession. It will be important for the Monarchs to come out patient and take time to build up play from the back. Early turn overs in poor areas could serve to set the tone of the match as Seattle will be very willing to play for a low scoring tight game.
Up top the Monarchs have seen Chandler Hoffman, Masta Kacher, Sebastian Velasquez, Maikel Chang and Josh Heard all see substantial time on the field in their first three matches. Charlie Adams and Justin Portillo have established a good working relationship while Pablo Ruiz has been off on U-20 national team duty.
Any trouble from the lack of RSL players will likely be felt across the backline where Michael Gallagher and Kalen Ryden are to only Monarchs players to see much time. Nick Besler has been the steady companion to Gallgher in the center, while Danilo Acosta, Adam Henley and Aaron Herrera have all seen time at halfback.
The coordination between Sparrow or Putna and back line will be an early indication of the Monarchs ability to push forward and give their offense the wings it will need to put some goals on the board. Watch also for a lot of possession on the ground based upon short passes and interplay around Justin Portillo and Charlie Adams in midfield.
Chandler Hoffman remains with only a single goal this season and shoul be looking to capitalize upon service from the wings and quick strikes off a pressing Monarch squad once they establish a flow and the game proceeds.
A final things for the Monarchs to watch is fan emotion and support. With the switch to Tacoma their crowds have grown to a couple of thousand, while at their old home field in Tukwila at Starfure Sports Sounders 2 were frequently playing in front of less than a thousand. Anything the Monarachs can do to keep the crowd out of the the match should serve them well and lead to an initial victory at yet another away venue.
Follow along with the match page and live stream HERE.