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Why have Real Monarchs struggled in their first 11 games?

Real Monarchs have yet to win more than one match, and I don't think that's a problem.

Let's backtrack here a little bit, though. It's one thing to just say it's not a problem, and it's another entirely to figure out why they haven't — and that's where it's a little more interesting, anyway.

After all, not everybody's paying close attention — that's inevitable, I think, with a minor league team — and so it might just look like they're not all that good. But after seeing them for their first 11 matches (plus the US Open Cup), I think we can say that there are some interesting factors at play.

The biggest issue is that many of these players are first-year professionals. We'll list them below, because the length of it should tell you something about this team.

Tyler Arnone, Lucas Baldin, Leon Brown, Darion Copeland, Garrett Losee, Riley McGovern, Jordan Murrell, Coco Navarro, Eric Osswald, Victor Rodriguez, Eti Tavares, and Ricardo Velazco.

That's twelve players who have played, at maximum, 12 professional games to date — and that's all with Real Monarchs. Those players have made up a good chunk of the squads so far.

One of the things players learn as professionals is how to see a game out from a winning position, and it's not always something that comes naturally. While some of them saw time with the RSL academy, it would be a mistake to pretend that playing against players 18 and under is the same as injecting some talented veterans into the opposition.

So when Monarchs drop points on the road or at home, that can help us understand why. Those are things you learn as a young professional, and we're currently locked into that learning process. The rest of our squad isn't massively experienced, either — the two with the most playing time n their career are probably Max Rauhofer and Lennon Celestino, neither of whom are older than 24.

Secondly, the lineups have necessarily been shuffled to inject some Real Salt Lake players — Sebastian Saucedo, for example — and that has a certain disruptive element that the team has to adjust to. And if they don't, that's a problem — most of the reason these reserve USL teams exist is to help bring up these young, talented players who just need minutes.

As Real Monarchs go out tonight against Vancouver Whitecaps, watch for some things. Are they starting to show some sort of ability to control the game and not just move for an attack? Have they learned from the craziness of the last game against Sacramento Republic? Do they have the resolute defensive qualities they need to succeed?

We'll find these things out soon enough, but for now, let's just enjoy watching these young players learn.