Coach Mark Briggs stayed with the new formation that served well in Sacramento electing to replace only the two wingers by sending Andrew Brody and Justin Schmidt out in place of Max Lachowecki and Danny Cruz.
Juan Mare and Chandler Hoffman returned as the high forward partnership and continued to demonstrate growing familiarity with each other’s movement. James Moberg on the right, Taylor Peay in the center and Emilio Orozco on the left returned as a durable three man back line. Justin Schmidt looked surprisingly good going forward on the left and filling back in on the left side while Andrew Brody was great on the the right. Sebastian Velasquez, Charlie Adams, and Nick Besler combined to clog up the middle and force the Reno offensive out onto the wings.
Just as in the Sacramento match the Monarch s were slow to move up the field and press during the opening minutes of the match in a effort to slow the high-powered Reno offensive. The Monarchs allowed Reno 1868 the bulk of possession, but limited their chances and forced most movement forward off to the sides of the field.
In the 24th minute Charlie Adams took a ball directly in the face and went to the turf as Reno continued to move forward. Taylor Peay was whistled for handling in the box and a penalty was given. While Charlie Adams continued to receive treatment, Antoine Hoppenot lined up and sent a hard ball off to Andrew Putna’s left. Putna guessed to correct side and made the diving save, but the rebound went right back to Hopenot who hit it off the crossbar. The second rebound went to Chris Wehan who sent it wide ending the best scoring chance of the night for Reno.
The first half ended at 0-0, but the Monarchs left the pitch most satisfied with the lack of any score.
Coming back onto the field the Monarchs immediately began to press very high and hard which once again led to the first goal just two minutes in as Charlie Adams hit a big cross with his left foot which found Chandler Hoffman making a back post run. A nice header made the score 1-0 and changed the tone of the match.
The tone immediately became more chippy in an already physical match and the Monarchs went back into the strong defensive mode of the first half.
Reno continued to maintain possession, but failed to break down the Monarchs and demonstrate the clinical finishing that had been their recent form. Instead the Monarchs were able to successfully counter twice in the 87th and 90th minute as Daniel Haber and Juan Mare combined for a goal and an assist each to make the score 3-0.
The win leaves the Monarchs on the verge of claiming the first silverware in their history with only San Antonio FC still remaining within reach. A tie in either of their remaining matches at home against Vancouver Whitecaps FC II and LA Galaxy II will ensure they finish the regular season in first place and ensure home field through the playoffs.
47’ – SLC – Chandler Hoffman (Charlie Adams)
87’ – SLC – Juan Mare (Daniel Haber)
90’ – SLC – Daniel Haber (Juan Mare)
43’ – SLC – Andrew Brody
64’ – RNO – Jordan Murrell
70’ – SLC – Sebastian Velasquez
77’ – SLC – Nick Besler
Real Monarchs SLC: (3-4-1-2) Putna; Moberg, Peay, Orozco; Brody, Besler, Adams, Schmidt (Lachowecki 45’); Velasquez; Mare (Milne 90+3’’), Hoffman (Haber 74’)
Reno 1868 FC: (4-4-2): Bersano; Richards, Ockford, Murrell, Colvey (Espinal 78’); Fernandes (Burgos 65’), LaGrassa, Mfeka, Wehan; Pridham (Griffiths 59’), Hoppenot
Three Highlights for the Monarchs:
- Andrew Putna got a second start to give Connor Sparrow a rest and picked up a a second penalty kick save and a 11th clean sheet for the Monarchs.
- The Monarchs need only a tie in either of their final two home matches to win the regular season title and their first silverware. .
- Five goals for the Monarchs, including the first two for Mare, will help get the offense running smoothly as the season ends and playoffs approach.
USLSOCCER.COM: Monarchs Pull Away, Defeat 1868 FC
RSL.COM: Monarchs roll in Reno