Real Salt Lake players in search of playing time
As speculated, the gradual easing of pandemic standards and operational restrictions in both MLS and USL has apparently allowed a corresponding increase in the temporary loans of players from MLS clubs to the USL clubs. Zac McMath, Jeizon Ramirez and Milan Iloski all joined fellow RSL member Bode Davis as starters in Friday’s match against Austin Bold FC. While, it still remains to be seen how long a period must pass before they can once again appear in a future MLS match, perhaps some hint will come as David Ochoa leaves to join the USMNT opening a space for a goalkeeper.
The increased availability of RSL and Monarachs players along with the signing of Jaziel Orozco to a professional contract with the Monarchs also led to a reduction in the number of RSL Academy players named as starters (halfbacks Daniel Florez and Frankie Martinez) and in the full eighteen ( Griffon Dillon and Pearse O’Brien ) . Chris Garcia, returned from red card suspension as a substitute in the 77th minute and Max Mata and James Moberg were the other two substitutes used.
As is becoming increasing familiar the Monarchs struggled to find any rhythm moving consistently forward into the offensive third earl in the match. Individual efforts resulted in several opportunities that might have been converted, but went for naught. Just before half a quick counter and a long cross from Malik Johnson found the feet of Jeizon Ramirez who redirected the ball midair into the near side of the goal for a 1-0 lead at home.
The Bold came out pressing hard at the start of the second half in an attempt to even the match and a verbal exchange further escalated the tension on the field and resulted in a yellow card to the Monarchs’ coach. Austin persisted in pressing and found gold in the 60th minute when a ball rebounded off the goalframe off the backside of Zac McMath and into the net to even the match. Both sides left the field slightly dejected about the tie and looking forward to the nearly immediate rematch on Wednesday night in Austin.
- Both sides appeared content to simply pass the ball back and forth between defenders in their own final third for extended periods of time. These short uncontested passes led to passing accuracies of greater than 82% for both teams. However in the final third both teams dropped 12 to 15% in the final third. In particular, the front line RSL players struggled to find connection with the academy halfbacks and the rest of the Monarchs behind them.
- Despite the verbal skirmish and 4 yellow cards the total number of fouls conceded was only 26 with 15 by the Monarchs and 11 by the Bold reflecting the slower pace of play during much of this match and willingness to hold the ball for extensive periods in their defensive thirds.
- With only a single goal in this match the Monarchs goals per 90 minutes remains below 1 goal per match although it increased slight to .75. The Monarchs total of 3 goals leaves them in a tie for 18th place in the USL Championship and facing a tough two march road trip during this week with stops in Austin and Hartford.