The Monarchs took the field at Great Park in Irvine, California today in an effort to extend the 4 game unbeaten preseason streak against also undefeated Orange County FC.
The starting lineup saw Conner Sparrow in goal; Max Lachowecki, Emilio Orozco, James Moberg, Kyle Curinga along the back line; Nick Besler and Charlie Adams as the defensive midfielders, Sebastian Velasquez, Andrew Brody and Chase Minter as attacking midfielders; and Chander Hoffman as the lone striker and the only change from the starting lineup against Los Dos last Saturday.
The scoring started early at 5' when a poor clearance by the Monarchs left the ball at the feet of Ami Pineda, an Orange County midfielder, who finished with a beautiful strike from about 18 yards out leaving Sparrow no chance. At about 12' a winger for Orange County caught a bouncing ball on the half-volley and crashed it off the goal post.
A response from the Monarchs came almost immediately afterword as Charlie Adams delivered another fantastic free kick from just inside the half line that ricocheted of an OC player for an own goal leveling the score at 1-1. Orange County struck once again at about the 18' working down the right side before sending the ball into the box where winger Jerry Van Ewijk calmly finished with a tap-in to take back the lead at 2-1.
The remainder of the first half continued in a back and forth manner except for a slight stoppage while Moberg received following a late tackle. The Monarchs enjoyed a great deal of excellent service into the box resulting in a number of good chances but no further goals. Just before the whistle a red card was shown to an OC center back after some pushing and shoving during a corner kick but both teams agreed to continue 11v11.
Petke made three substitutions at halftime in the midfield with Jesus Leal replacing Besler, Daniel Haber replacing Brody, Hernandez replacing Seba with newly announced signing Jonel Desire also taking over for Hoffman up top. About five minutes later the Monarchs made a further sub with Michael Gallagher replacing Orozco in the defensive line. At about 52’ Orange County capitalized on another giveaway in midfield by quickly playing the ball in to the box where Gustabo Villalobos drove it home to increase the OC lead to 3-1. At the 60’ mark two further subs, Andrew Putna for Sparrow in goal and Emmanuel Ocran for Minter on the wing were made. After another couple of chances Karsten Hanlin replaced Adams in the midfield at about the 65’.
At about the 75’ Curinga was shown a straight red for taking down an OC player as last man back just outside the box. At about the same time Skyler Milne replaced desire and Kyle O’Brien, still a trialist, replaced Lachowecki. Once again the second half saw good interplay and fine service into the box but the Monarchs were unable to find a second goal.
The loss is the first this preseason for the Monarchs who head back to SCL tonight as they prepare to open the USL season against Timber 2 in Providence Park on March 25th.