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Monarchs held to 1-1 draw by Saint Louis FC

Jose Hernandez scored early in second half to save a point for the Monarchs

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Real Salt Lake vs Sporting KC Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

On the return back to Herriman on Wednesday the Monarchs came out with a lineup consisting of Jake Leeker, Andrew Brody, Kalen Ryden, Konrad Plewa, James Moberg, Justin Portilloo Charlie Adams, Jose Hernandez, Maikel Chang, Josh Heard and Chandler Hoffman. The bench included a couple of RSL Academy players in Luis Arriaga (2001) and Delentz Pierre (2000).

Saint Louis opened the match cheating strongly forward on offense and sending at least four players toward the boxes as soon as possible on the offense which resulted in a little confusion for the Monarchs and the first good opportunity off a corner kick in the 5th minute but they were unable to keep the resulting header down under the bar.

Less than a minute later Konrad Plewa ran up the back of Albert Dikwa in the box which resulted in a yellow card for Plewa and a penalty kick. Fall sent the penalty kick low and to the right which Leeker managed to stop but the rebound went back across the mouth of goal and Fall tapped it into an empty net.

A couple of decisions against the Monarchs on the field quickly got the Monarchs and their bench involved in conversations with the head referee and resulted in the Monarchs increasing focus and beginning a stretch of good possession that failed to create any good chances against a Saint Louis defense that pulled back to withstand the push. By the 20th minute the match began to open back up with both sides showing a little possession and the Monarchs has their first chance in the 22nd minute with a shot by Chandler Hoffman that went across the mouth of goal and just wide of the post.

The match continued in an relatively open manner until 26th minute when Hoffman went down in the Saint Louis box. The resulting lack of a call once again got Coach Olave up of the bench and fired up the crowd. A corner kick off a great run by Josh Heard in the 29th minute came in low and was cleared easily as the Monarchs stuggled to connect. A cross by Maikel Chang a minute later found Josh Heard in front of goal but his head was easily corraled by the Saint Louis goalkeeper.

Failure to stand clear of a free kick soon after led to a yellow card for Joey Calistri and the Monarchs continued to probe for an equalizer. Jose Hernandez had a half chance in front of goal in the 36th minute but failed to control another cross from Chang and redirect it on frame.

The game paused again in the 40th minute as the head referee took time to take with a couple of players after a little pushing and shoving along the sideline. Another stern talking to in the 44th minute further disrupted the flow of the match through the single minute of stoppage time and the half ended 1-0 in favor of Saint Louis and a large conference in the middle of the field with head referee.

At the start of the second half Masta Kacher came on to replace Josh Heard who had sustained a fairly hard knock in a corner kick during thee first half. The Monarchs pressure was tested by a early chance for Saint Louis when Plewa missed the ball after coming forward to midfield resulting in a good chance for the visitors.

Finally in the 49th minute the Monarchs were rewarded when Chang found a wide open Jose Hernandez at the top of the box. His hard low strike easily beat Tomas Gomez and tied the score. The tie score led to a more open and flowing game as both sides began to push for another to take the lead and the ball began to move freely up and down the field.

A Saint Louis corner kick in the 53rd lead to several good chances in the run of play and ended with another corner and Jose Hernandez down on the pitch. The second corner was headed out by James Moberg by the throw-in lead to another header by Saint Louis that went just over the net. Saint Louis continued to hold the momentum until the 58th minute when a turnover lead to a good shot from Change which went just wide and tide began to turn. Hernandz had another good shot in the 60th.

A nice full stretch ssve by Leeker off a quick counter by Saint Louis in the 62nd kept the score tied and was followed by a substitution to bring in fresh legs in their midfield and a more defensive posture by the visitors. Their pace once again began to slow down as the Monarchs attempted to find some possession and recognize the change in formation from Saint Louis. Another substitution was made on the forward line by Saint Louis in the 69th minute an they move even further into an 8 man defensive posture looking to counter quickly off turnovers.

The Monarchs continued to exhibit patience and look for an extra pass open the Saint Louis defense but failed to produce much until the 76th minute when Jose Hernansez again found joy and pushed another low line drive just wide. Adams went down in the 78th minute at the conclusion of a nice run and required treatment which led to Jack Blake coming on as his replacement and new cries from the Monarchs bench as play continued for some period with Adams on the turf.

Both sides continued to produce some half-chances but neither was able to connect in the crucial moment as tired legs began to take over. A free kick from straight on by Saint Louis went over the bar and time run out and a minimum of three minutes was added as stoppage time. Kacher connected with Blake for the best chance of stoppage time, but his redirection went high leaving the score tied at 1 as the final whistle sounded.

The single point was sufficient to move the Monarchs into a tie at 54 points with Orange County SC and the number one position on the first tiebreaker which is number of wins. Orange County SC play on Sunday against Fresno FC and then meetup with the Monarchs next Wednesday in what could be a head-to-head battle for first place.