The Monarchs stayed with nine of the starters from last week’s draw with Sacramento in their home opener. Noah Powder came in at left back to replace Donny Toia and Tate Schmitt came down from RSL in place of Pablo Ruiz. Schmitt started on the right wing and Jack Blake moved further back in midfield leaving Martinez, Schmitt, Palma and Chang as the point of the Monarchs’ attack.
Neither side displayed much urgency in the opening stages of the match, but the Monarchs struggled mightily in the transition from defense to offense. The Locomotive were the more physical of the two sides and had the greater part of play through the initial 25 minutes.
At the 25 minute mark Luis Palma went to ground following a hard tackle and was eventually carried off and taken straight off the field. Masta Kacher came on to replace Palma and provided a quick burst of action which led to the Monarchs only really chance of the match. Maikel Chang put a nicely placed free kick off the side post and Tate Schmitt could not keep his follow up on target.
Following a take down of Derek Gebhard on a break away, Kalen Ryden was shown the red card in the 32 minute and the Monarchs went down to 10 men. A couple of minutes later Okumu came on to replace Schmitt and reset the back line. For the remainder of the first half the game moved back into the control of El Paso who seemed quite content to continue on in the same vein and not up the pressure.
The second half continued in the same vein with the Monarchs defending tightly and the Locomotive holding the bulk of the possession. The Locomotive made their first substitution in the 59th minute and another in the 70th but both did little to shift the flow of play or the quality of chances.
The Monarchs brought on Damian German in the 84th minute which provided a brief spark of offensive action, but the El Paso failed to make any further changes and the time ran out with both sides at zero
David Ochoa was instrumental in the clean sheet as he provided a number of quality saves and led the Monarchs back line in their attempts to take the air out of the match in the second half.
As a final note, Theo is back after being missing for an extended period. Welcome back for another season of Monarchs’ soccer,