Following the very successful 4-1 victory over Colorado Springs Switchbacks on Wednesday Head Coach Jamison Olave elected to stay with the same lineup against Group C leaders New Mexico United. David Ochoa returned in goal behind a back four of Andrew Brody, Nicolas Giménez, James Moberg and Noah Powder. Jack Blake and Sam Brown were in the defensive midfield while Dayonn Harris, Kyle Coffee and Luis Arriaga handled the offensive side with Julian Vázquez alone on top.
United, a team that still has not played at home due to the pandemic, came out in a very high press searching for an early lead. Although New Mexico had the better position and 60% of the possession for the first 15 minutes, both sides looked a little out synch and unable to create good chances.
Ochoa had a nice save for the Monarchs on a breakaway in the 16th minute by United’s Amando Moreno which served to open the match up to a faster pace as both teams resorted to a longer balls downfield in an effort to gain advantage through a breakaway. The only highlights of the middle 15 minutes were the coaches commenting on the officiating which were clearly audible on the broadcast through the ground mics in the absence of any fans.
The final 15 was filled with more of the same until the sought for breakaway finally arrived during the 40th minute as Moreno gave United a 1-0 lead in another 1-on-1 attack on Ochoa. Once again play on the field was hotly debated by the Monarchs coaching staff and clearly audible on the field mics.
By halftime, the Monarchs had flipped ball possession to 56% in their favor but had yet to create a single shot on goal and only a 16.7% crossing accuracy.
After a double swap of Ryan Sierakowski for Kyle Coffee and Bode Davis for Dayonn Harris during half, the Monarchs seemed determined to press forward for a quick tying goal. Despite being nearly exposed defensively several times by long balls and a collision between Cody Mizell, in goal for New Mexico, and Julian Vázquez, the Monarchs persisted until another highly contested 1-1 between Moreno and Ochoa gave New Mexico a 2-0 lead in the 66th minute.
New Mexico immediately began to slow the match and were aided by a yellow card to a Monarchs Assistant Coach, who continued to chirp about the second goal, and then a hydration break in the 78th minute.
Late substitutions Zackery Farnsworth and Chris Bermudez were unable to provide a spark and the Monarchs left the field frustrated with a third straight loss to New Mexico United at home this season and only a single shot on goal.
The Monarchs will welcome Portland Timbers II to Zions Bank Stadium next Wednesday, the 16th, and their home stand continues before heading to El Paso next Saturday.