With Nick Rimando, Jake Horvath, and Connor Sparrow all out with injuries, Andrew Putna and Jake Leeker traveled with RSL to Houston leaving new signing Adam Grinwis, on loan from Orlando SC, to make his debut at goalkeeper with the Monarchs. James Moberg, Konrad Plewa, Kalen Ryden and Andrew Brody received starts in the back; Justin Portillo, Jack Blake and Sebastian Velasquez, back after missing the past two matches, in the middle; and Masta Kacher, Joshua Hear’ad and Chandler Hoffman up on top.
The injury issues and heavy schedule also meant that only Jose Hernandex was down on loan for this match from parent RSl. Adams, Gallagher, Williams, Mare, Diosa and academy product Guerrero rounded out the 18 man squad.
The early play was mainly on the Monarchs half as they struggled to maintain possession highlighted by Grinwis who showed his lack of familiarity with the team and the field. Tulas immediately dropped into steady four man line deep in their side anytime the Monarchs took possession and did a good job of frustrating the few forays forward that the Monarchs managed. in the 9th minute the Monarchs got a favorable call and had a set piece taken by Justin Portillo which went into the wall, but generated a nice second chance for Portillo off the rebound.
Less than a minute later a sloppy turn over in midfield let to a penetrating attack by Sebastian Velasquez who made a nice shot but was denied by Cerda. Two corner kicks kept the ball in Tulsa’s half and led to a nice deflection/tap in by Chandler Hoffman for the first goal and a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute.
Masta Kacher had another good shot at a hard angle that was denied by Cerda in goal. The subsequent corner kick found Moberg who put a header on target giving Cerda a couple more changes to make nice diving saves and the ball pinged in the box. Once Tulsa finally cleared it turned into a one-on-one break foiled by a nice defensive play by Brodie.
Cerda came up big again in the 18th minutes and Tulsa continued to test the back of the Monarchs with long over the top passes which finally culminated in Tulsa’s first good shot which went just wide of the far post early in the 22 minute. Before play could resume Velasquez went to ground near the center circle and following a short visit with the trainer Charlie Adams was brought on to replace him after completing a short warm-up.
Tulas continued to breach the Monarchs with long balls over the top and created the next good chance which came off a corner which was headed barely over the bar by John Pirez in the 31st minuted. The continual contact as the Tulsa’s front line worked to break clear one the over the top deliveries resulted in a couple of stoppages and conversation with the referee.
The Monarchs found a second in the 36th minute when Josh Heard set in a cross that found Chandler Hoffman wide open on the the far post for and easy header and a 2-0 lead. The emotional boost from that second goal and they barely missed a third on another good cross in the 38th as Cerda lifted the subsequent shot up and over the bar.
Blake barely missed the goal on a hard shot from a lay off to the top of the box in the 43rd minute but it took trip by Alejanandro Covarrubias and a subsequent yellow card to give the Monarchs their last good chance of the first half which as again blocked by the wall
Tulsa finally found success on a ball over the top during stoppage time, but the shot at the end was blocked over Kalen Ryden and the match ended 2-0 after the first 45 minutes.
Craig Waibel was the halftime guest on the broadcast, but his visit was cut short as Rusnak scored to tie up the match with Houston and then got another to take the full three points.
The Monarchs cam out of their front foot and have the first good chance on a screamer was just pushed wide by Cerda in the 49th minute. however this was followed up by an extended period of possession by Tulsa and sever good chances which failed to stay on target.
The Monarchs had a nice breakaway by Kacher In tend by going off the post only to have Tulsa immediately respond with a fast transition and a easy goal by by Jesus Ferreira on the other side to narrow the lead to a single goal at 2-1 in the 54th minute.
A tip in the 56th earned Nicholas Del Grecco a yellow card in the 56th minute and a period of nice possession for the Monarchs with a couple of shots on goal. In the 58th minutes del Grecco proceeded to gave Josh Heard an extended ride on his back while attempting to block him off the ball and required treatment just of the right corner of Tulsa’s box and left the field in favor of former Monarch Eti Travares. Adams hit the subsequent free kick straight at Cerda.
Konrad Plewa picked up the Monarchs first yellow card in the 68th minutes stopping a breakaway on the left wing, which lead to a couple of nice chances for Tulsa which once again they failed to get on target. The Monarchs then start to retake momentum and made it look as if a third goal was in the wings, but failed to connect with a quality shot on goal.
In the 80th minute Mare came in to replace Hoffman following some extended possession by the Monarchs. Soon after Plewa slipped which allowed Isaac Diaz in alone on goal and he buried his shot to tie the score at 2 each.
The Monarchs responded immediately and won a penalty kick which Cerda took down Mare in the box. Portillo stepped up and buried the PK as Cerda went the wrong direction to give the Monarchs a 3-2 lead in the 86th minute on a hard shot to the right about chest high.
After two failed attempts to clear a his box by Cerda that went high up into the air but little else the Monarchs continued to threaten and Kacher was taken out and replace by Williams as a time wasting event. Despite six minutes of stoppage time, a stupid yellow card by Mare for interference, a long stoppage when Ryden took a ball off his head, some back and forth on the subsequent free kick which took over two minutes to take place, and a near miss by Mare the match ended at 3-2.