After a poor run which saw the Monarchs take only 3 points out of their past five matches change was in the air on Saturday afternoon at Zions Bank Stadium. Douglas Martinez, who played 64 minutes against San Jose on Wednesday in his MLS debut was back along with six other players from the MLS roster. Sebastian Saucedo, Justin Portillo and Luke Mulholland made up the Monarchs’ midfield with Tate Schmitt making a surprise start at left fullback and Andrew Putna in goal.
Early on it appear that the changes made a difference as the normally slow starting Monarchs came out on the front foot and clearly were the side pushing the pace of the game. Despite a number of good opportunities the Monarchs were unable to cash in until scoring leader Douglas Martinez scored his 12th goal of the season with a strike from outside the box off his preferred right foot in the 22nd minute.
However, in a story very familiar by now, the Monarchs turned around and gave back the lead two minutes later when Giovanni Calixtro sent a rebound from his own earlier shot past Andrew Putna to tie the score at one.
The Monarchs fought to regain the upper hand as the match turned much more chippy. Their determination and possession found a reward in the 38th minute as Luke Mulholland sent a perfect cross in from the left side and Martinez headed it home for his second of the afternoon and a 2-1 lead.
Portland made a single substitution at halftime and came out on the front foot with higher pressure as they made a renewed effort to get something from the game. For the first ten minutes Timbers 2 seemed in control of the match, but the Monarchs begin to shift the momentum by focusing on simple possession. Around the 65th minute. Once again they began to dominate the play and the began to pepper the Timbers goal.
The Monarchs finally found joy as Jack Blake sent in a hard shot from outside the box which Kendall McIntosh failed to handle cleanly allowing Martinez to easily tap in the rebound for his third goal of the afternoon and a second Monarchs hat trick.
The coaching staff immediately went to work on the Monarchs urging them to keep the pressure on and play with determination following the goal. Four minutes later a take away in midfield saw Douglas Martinez in on goal alone and he neatly finished past McIntosh for his fourth of the afternoon and his 15th of the season.
Kyle Coffee and Christian Calix almost immediately came in for Jack Blake and Maikel Chang as the coaching staff attempted to rest a couple of regulars and see the match out with fresh legs. Unwilling to simply just sit back the Monarchs continued to push and managed to spring Kyle Coffee in on goal in the 83rd minute. His clean finish increased the lead to 5-1 and seemed to deflate the youthful Timbers 2 squad.
With 15 goals on the season, Douglas Martinez is closing in on the team record of 16 set by Chandler Hoffman in 2017 with another six games left in the season include a short turn around up to Tacoma against the Defiance next Tuesday.