Coach Mark Briggs had four players available from parent RSL and started 3 of them. Captain Nick Besler was in his customary role at defensive midfield while Demar Phillips came in at left fullback and Sebastian Saucedo joined at left winger. With these additions and the injury to Taylor Peay’s hand/arm the Monarchs also went back to the familiar 4-2-3-1 they favored for much of the season.
From the onset the match was a very chippy affair with a lot of strong tackles and pushing from both sides. The Whitecaps game plan was obviously to disrupt the center of the Monarchs and force quick counters through the center of the field.
The Monarchs struck first with a fine finish from Sebastian Velasquez who placed a low shot just beyond the reach of Whitecaps goalie Mark Village after receiving a nice ball from Sebastian Saucedo at the top of the box.
The 1-0 lead remained in place until just after halftime when a hard cross from Vancouver’s Marco Bustos was defected into the goal by James Moberg during an attempt to clear the box leaving Andrew Putna with no chance on the ball.
In the 76th minute Demar Phillips was sent off for his actions following a foul almost directly in front of the fourth official who promptly signaled the head with a gesture to her back pocket. Playing a man down, the final 14 minutes and stoppage saw the Monarchs play increasing defensive in an attempt to preserve the draw. In reality, however, the draw by San Antonio in a match that ended earlier had already sealed the Championship for the Monarchs.
Make a point of going to rsl.com and any Monarchs you follow to view the silverware and the celebration by the players.
16’ – SLC – Sebastian Velasquez (Sebastian Saucedo)
48’ – VAN – James Moberg (own goal)
26’ – VAN – Marco Bustos
45’ – SLC – Nick Besler
79’ – VAN – David Norman
76’ – SLC – Demar Phillips
Real Monarchs SLC: (4-2-3-1) Putna; Curinga, Moberg, Orozco, Phillips; Besler, Adams; Haber (Cruz 54’), Velasquez, Saucedo (Lachowecki 89’); Hoffman (Mare 86’)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: (4-3-3): Village; Chung, Seiler, De Vries, Levis (Amanda 45’); Michael Baldisimo (Matthew Baldisimo79’), Norman, Campbell; Serban, Sanner (Verhoeven 74’), Bustos
Three Highlights for the Monarchs:
- The Monarchs are USL Regular Season Champions for 2017 and the first Western Conference team to win that title.
- The Monarchs have made Rio Tinto the road to USL Cup. .
- The Monarchs received the only silverware awarded, so far, in Rio Tinto Stadium.
USLSOCCER.COM: Monarchs Claim Regular Season Championship
RSL.COM: Real Monarchs Clinch 2017 USL Regular Season Championship