Following a tough road trip where the Monarchs fought to come from behind and draw with 2nd place Fresno FC before losing 3-1 to Orange County SC, a return to the friendly confines of Zions Bank Stadium may be just what the coach ordered. Near the top of a pack of twelve teams in positions 4-14 who are separated by only 5 points, the Monarchs still have a slight advantage of games in hand with 11 matches remaining but it is time to put points up at home.
Although OKC Energy FC have played three more matches in the 2019 season, they sit only a single point ahead of Real Monarchs SLC in the Western Conference standings. With a 3-1-1 record in their last five matches and a 4-4-4 overall record on the road, the Energy are one of the best road teams in the USL Championship. With a draw against Reno 1868 FC and New Mexico United and a narrow 1-0 loss to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, they have found success at higher elevations when keeping the ball in front of them and attempting to strike quickly in response to turnovers.
Well traveled Jamaican Deshorn Brown leads the Energy attack with 10 goals while veterans Sebastian Ibeagha and former RSL player Atiba Harris form a strong central defense in front of Cody Laurendi in goal.
The Monarchs continue to lose players as the USL roster dipped to 17 with the announced departure of Joseph Okumu earlier this week. Ricardo Avila remains out with a long term ankle injury, but an experienced core of Kalen Ryden, James Moberg and Jack Blake will be mixed with newcomers to this season’s team like Douglas Martinez, Luis Palma and Noah Powder and a number of RSL players like Erik Holt, Justin Portillo, Luke Mulholland and Tate Schmitt.
With RSL on the road in Portland and the Royals already in an international break, the Monarchs are your only chance to see live soccer this Labor Day weekend. Enjoy the continuing warm weather and join with other fans at 8 PM tonight in Herriman. Failing that, the match can be streamed on ESPN+ once you return from a Labor Day getaway.