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Real Monarchs SLC vs. LA Galaxy II: Tuneup for Playoffs as 2017 Regular Season Ends

The Monarchs have a opportunity to set their roster and shape for the playoffs as LA Galaxy II visits to end the season.

Los Dos roll into Rio Tinto to close out a season that has been deeply reflective of the parent squad. While the is apparent star power on the roster, getting them into synch as a squad and integrating new young signings is still very much a work in progress.

At 13th place in the Western Conference with a goal differential of -31 the young Galaxy squad has bled goals at home and on the road. They lead USL with 63 goals conceded and are saved from having the worst goal differential only by the fact that Portland Timbers 2 struggle so much to score. They are also tied with Timbers 2 for the bottom with only 4 clean sheets in their 31 games.

To add to their misery they arrive at Rio Tinto having lost 4 of their last 5 games with the sole victory coming against the above mentioned and equally miserable Timbers 2 squad last week at Stub Hub.

Justin Dhillon, Ariel Lassiter and Adrian Vera lead the team in goals are usually the force that drives victory for Los Dos. Ethan Zubak, Jack McBean, Raul Mendiola have also contributed a total of 7 assists.

The Monarchs although they possess a league leading 20% conversion rate have been inconsistent at offense recently as they attempt to expand their player pool for the playoffs. In this final match before the playoffs which begin next Friday the Monarchs should be flying high and seeking the net.

Chandler Hoffman, who is a leading MVP candidate, remains two goals behind Dane Kelly in the race for the USL Golden Boot and continues to push for new highs in both goals and assists. Hoffman also has 7 assists this season which combines with the 8 assists from Charlie Adams and 6 assists from Sebastian Valesquez to lead the squad.

The three man back line of James Moberg and Emilio Orozco continue to look strong in central defense notwithstanding the unfortunate on goal last weekend. Andrew Putna remains stellar in goal and captain Nick Besler leads the team from the defensive midfield.

Daniel Haber, Andrew Brody, Juan Mare, Danny Cruz, Diego Calvo, Skyler Milne and Chase Minter will all be pushing for time as the Monarchs ramp up to what will hopefully be a deep run in the playoffs.

Match History

Los Dos and the Monarchs have five previous regular season meetings. The Monarchs only victory over Galaxy II came earlier this season at Stub Hub and they have only a 1-2-2 record against Los Dos. A victory on Saturday would even up the series and continuing the change in both squads fortunes.

What to watch for

It will be interesting to see who Coach Briggs starts as he attempts to set things up for the postseason. Coach Briggs has the comfort to continue to tinker with his lineup and formation in this final match at home and may have a large number of RSL players available to him.

Los Dos has decent speed but they simply are not the counter-attacking or scoring threat that a playoff team represents. The Monarchs will surely attempt to press the tempo and work to break down the shaky defense of Los Dos.

The Monarchs need to continue to not only combine for a number of shots on goal, they need to convert on their chances. Forwards are streaky by nature and need to continue the hot pace of the last several games. There is no reason for the Monarchs to play a conservative game and, with the road to the USL Cup guaranteed to go through Rio Tinto, the Monarchs need to set up their offense strategy and develop methods that will get them goals against the packed defenses they will face in playoffs.

Expected lineups

Real Monarchs SLC: (4-3-2-1) Sparrow; Curinga, Moberg, Orozco, Lachowecki; Besler, Adams; Cruz, Valesquez, Haber; Hoffman

LA Galaxy II: (4--4-2): vom Steeg; Smith, Engola, Payeras, Turner; Vera, Jaime Villarreal, Zanga, Lassiter; Mendiola, Mc Bean

Match info

When: Saturday, October 14, 7:00 pm MDT

Where: Rio Tinto Field — Sandy, UT

Weather: 44 degrees, Clear