Year Founded: 2015
Affiliation: Real Salt Lake
2016 record, place in Conference standings: 10-14-6 (11th in Western Conference)
2016 playoffs: Did not qualify
Key additions: Chandler Hoffman (from Louisville City FC); Nick Besler (from Timbers 2); Daniel Haber (from Whitecaps 2)
Key departures: Ricardo Velazco (signed by RSL); Maikon Orellana; Alec Sundly; Tyler Arnone
Projected/ideal starting XI (4-2-3-1): Lalo Fernandez ; Kyle Curinga, Emilio Orozco, James Moberg, Max Lachowecki; Charley Adams, Nick Besler; Daniel Haber, Sebastian Velasquez, Chase Minter; and Chandler Hoffman
The Monarchs 2016 Season:
Coming off the strong 4 game winning steak that ended their inaugural 2015 season things looked bright as the 2016 season started and they went undefeated in their first three matches with two wins. However weaknesses on the offensive side of the ball quickly caught up with them and they settled into the long series of 0-0, 1-0, 2-1 matches, some wins, but more losses. The season became an unending question of would the side manage to score any goals in the upcoming match and, if so, would it be enough.
By the end of the 2016 seasons the answer was clear. A late flirtation with qualification for the playoffs raised excitement but the team failed to win going down the stretch and finished three places and 4 points out. Their goal total for the 2016 season was tied for second lowest among all USL teams at 31 while their goals allowed was comfortably middle of the pack. The message that offensive changes were needed was clear and lead to many changes in the offseason.
Why you should watch Real Monarchs in 2017
With a new coach in Mike Petke, a host of new offensive options and squad of the strongest individuals ever on a Monarchs team there is plenty of reason to expect the best. Petke is a driven personality that appears ready and able to motivate this older Monarchs squad to compete through the entire season. As a squad wholly owned by parent RSL, the Monarchs are expected to faces challenges different from the independent USL sides the compete with as they attempt to building chemistry and consistency while still developing players. Watching the Monarchs you will see a number of players who are on the verge of being contributors to the parent team. Each will be forced to compete for playing time and to catch that elusive opportunity at the MLS level.
Three players to watch
Andrew Brody may be among the last of the players who take the longer route from their youth days to becoming a professional. After graduating from the RSL-AZ academy, he went to the University of Louisville for his college career, while also spending time playing in his hometown with the Orlando City U-23 team. At the end of his college career, he signed a contract to be part of the Monarchs second season.
Charlie Adams is the organization’s second English player, coming from second-tier Brentford FC’s youth system. He’s earned most of his playing time through USL side Louisville City in 2015, with two goals in 20 matches including a cracker from outside the box in the first game of the season. He also added a goal in U.S. Open Cup play that year, scoring the only goal of their second round match.
Sebastian Velaquez returns to Salt Lake after issues off the field which affected his 2014 season under Jeff Cassar. Since then he was reunited with Jason Kreis for a season at NYCFC, and made the right steps to grow as an individual. After spending last season with NASL’s Rayo OKC (16 appearances, 2 goals), Velasquez returns to where he got his start, and will take advantage of a club that didn’t exist then, but could have provided a different path for him at the time.
The 2017 season can be termed a success if...
Merely posting a winning record and/or qualifying for the postseason will be a giant step forward for the Monarchs as they attempt to progress in this final season before moving into their new facility under construction in Herriman, Utah.
USLSoccer: 2017 USL Preview: Real Monarchs SLC
RSL Soapbox: Real Monarchs turn a new direction under coach Petke