As has become the norm the Monarchs came out in a 3-5-2 formation with only two change from the Western Conference Championship. Noah Powder started as the right fullback and or winger in place of James Moberg and Kyle Coffee started in place of the suspended Douglas Martinez at forward.
From the outset the Monarchs appeared content to contest in the middle of the field and make quick counter strikes while allowing Louisville to assume the majority of the possession as they attempted to develop from the back.
A early breakdown in the middle led to Louisville taking a early 1-0 lead as Antoine Hoppenot laid a nice pass on the ground across goal and Magnus Rasmussen finished it for the earliest goal in a Championship match in the 6th minute.
Unwilling to fall further behind early, the Monarchs sought to reassert their defensive shape and work into the match. There were a couple of shot on target by Louisville, but the Monarchs tied the score on the followup to a corner when Jack Blake passed on the Erik Holt who was up from the corner. He calmly finished from just outside the box directly in front of goal to even the match in the 25th minute.
Then in the closing moments of the first half an excellent cross from Luke Mulholland who returned a poor clearance into the box and found Konrad Plewa who finished with a nice header from very close range between two Louisville defenders.
The visiting Monarchs walked off the field at half time with a 2-1 lead despite allowing Louisville 70% of possession for a good part of the half before their late charge lowered it to 66%. After being down 6-1 on shots early the Monarchs also pulled it back to 6-5 by half and they finished the half tied with 3 shots apiece on goal. They also finished the half with only 162 passes to Louisville’s 332 as the possession numbers imply, but also having 12 tackles to Louisville’s 4.
The Monarchs came out as the very first visiting team to ever lead a Championship Final at half time and continued their pattern of heavily contesting the midfield for the first 5 minutes. At that point Louisville made the first substitution and went to 3 in the back while bringing on another forward. Just moments later Tate Schmitt received the first yellow card of the match and it appeared the pressure was on.
But it was the Monarchs who took advantage as the game became more stretched as Noah Powder, who felt he had been taken down earlier in the second half, split two Louisville defenders with long shot from his left foot and increased the Monarchs lead to 3-1.
Following Powder’s goal the Monarchs really begin to pack it in defensively and withstand the barrage from Louisville. Ochoa made several big saves as Louisville made another offensive sub in a last ditch attempt to get back into the match.
In the 86th minute the Monarchs begin to make to tactical substitutions with Kyle Coffee going off for James Moberg while Louisville made a third offensive substitution because of injury and to get fresh legs on the field.
In the end the Monarchs walked off the field as USL Championship victors despite being an underdog road time. Great Work from David Ochoa, Noah Powder, Konrad Plewa, Kalen Ryden, Tate Schmitt, Luke Mulholland, Justin Portillo, Jack Blake, Maikel Chang, Kyle Coffee, James Moberg and Luis Arriaga. A tactical victory that should be more than enough to remove that Interim from a victorious coach.