Real Monarchs found their first win with a 1-0 victory over Sacramento Republic, with the team looking as good as it has to this point.
Lalo Fernandez - 8 - Apart from one very good save near the end of the game, Fernandez wasn't pressed into too much shot-stopping action. Instead, his abilities on set-pieces were called into play, and he impressed in those situations.
Riley McGovern - 7 - While some matches have seen McGovern getting very far forward and making nice crosses into this box, this one saw McGovern a little more reserved and focused defensively. But his quick thinking high up the pitch on a throw-in helped create the only goal of the game, so that's got to count for something.
Phanuel Kavita - 7.5 - They say when a defender is largely invisible, that's a good thing — and that was the case with Kavita, who could easily fade from memory after being very good against Sacramento Republic. His short passing in the defensive third helped keep play safe and sane against a high-pressure Republic.
Emilio Orozco - 7.5 - Everything we said about Kavita applies to Orozco. The two formed a good pairing, and Orozco is quickly becoming an important center back for Real Monarchs after two consecutive good showings.
Jordan Murrell - 8 - Murrell played the attacking full back to McGovern's defensive one, and the balance played out well. Murrell's combination play was helpful in creating opportunities, and at times, he looked more comfortable on the wing than as a defender — which isn't to say he was a bad left back, because that was certainly not the case.
Fito Ovalle - 7.5 - It's taken the youngster a bit of time to find his feet at this level, but Ovalle was much improved over previous showings, combining well in the midfield and breaking up play very well.
Alec Sundly - 7 - Starting well and fading a little bit as the second half wore on, Sundly was an influential figure in the midfield — but he does provide different qualities than the man he replaced, Lucas Baldin. Whether those are the best fit for the side or not, Sundly ably broke up Sacramento possession.
Ricardo Velazco - 7.5 - Highlight reels last night for Velazco, certainly, whose propensity for driving at players from the middle of the park could be a game-changer. It wasn't necessarily against Sacramento, but he was still exciting to watch.
Eti Tavares - 7.5 - At the center of a lot of good play, Tavares kept going and going and going until he was taken off in the waning minutes of the match. He's turning out to be a surprisingly talented youngster coming out of a junior college soccer program.
Max Rauhofer - 9 - After watching Rauhofer's Uruguayan highlights, it occurs to me that he doesn't always score these sorts of goals — but the ease with which he sent the ball past the goalkeeper with a backheel would seem to indicate otherwise. With a bit of luck, a hat trick was not out of the picture for the Uruguayan number nine.
Maikon Orellana - 6.5 - While his first appearance was exceedingly positive, he took a small step back with this one — which isn't unreasonable. It was his first start for the team, and starting provides very different opportunities than coming on as a substitute. He did get back well in defensive phases, and the local kid deserves praise for that.
John Stertzer (66' for Alec Sundly) - 7.5 - When Stertzer entered the game, it transformed — playing in the prototypical Kyle Beckerman spot, he allowed other players to get further forward, and that made a significant difference as Real Monarchs pushed for a win. Obviously enough, Stertzer won't be with Monarchs every week, but in this case, his retroactive MLS suspension served the team well.
Emery Welshman (72' for Maikon Orellana) - 7 - Several times, it looked like Welshman was about to find that final touch or get on the end of a shot. While he didn't end up with a goal, he put himself in excellent positions and was superb on the dribble. Pretty good for his official Real Monarchs debut and for only just returning from injury.
Lucas Baldin (78' for Ricardo Velazco) - 7 - A smart passing midfielder, Baldin helped steady the ship after the Rauhofer goal. He was excellent in a more conservative midfield role, with short combination play on order.
Coco Navarro (84' for Max Rauhofer) - N/A - Wasn't on long enough to have an impact.
Darion Copeland (89' for Eti Tavares) - N/A - Copeland came on as a late defensive reinforcement. He may have had one clearance.