Coach Mark Brigg’s Monarchs opened with two guest players from RSL in the starting 11 with Aaron Maund at center back and Ricardo Velazco back in a Monarch uniform at left winger.
The Monarchs came out and pushed play through the opening minutes while the Rangers seemed more content to work toward some possession. Early yellow cards to James Musa (7’) and Amer Didic (14’) resulted from the Monarch’s pressure, but the first shot on goal wasn’t until the 19’. Ricardo Velazco found Max Lachowecki on an overlapping run up the left side and Lachowecki’s subsequent cross went though to Chandler Hoffman who hit a nice first touch shot from near the penalty spot for the first goal.
In the 23’ Sebastian Velasquez picked up a yellow card for the Monarchs as the game continued to increase in physicality and contact.
A 36’ set-piece from Velazco toward Aaron Maund was deflected by the Rangers only to rebound to James Moberg, who buried it into the top corner from nearly the same spot as Hoffman earlier.
Ricardo followed with his own chance in the 39’ with a hard well driven shot from over 30 yards out but David Greczek made a nice save to keep the score at 2-0.
The Rangers only real chance in the first half came when Cameron Iwasa got behind the Monarch’s defense and made a nice shot from just inside the right corner of the box in the 42’ forcing a save by an extended Conner Sparrow.
Right as the half ended Kevin Oliveira was shown the 3rd Ranger yellow card for a very hard foul and the teams went into the break with the Monarchs up 2-0.
The second half opened to a very Rangers team who, evidently motivated by the coaching staff during the break, began to run with abandon and force the pace of play. Parker Maher, a half-time sub for the ineffective Tyler Pasher, and Colton Storm begin to drive strongly up the field from their left and right fullback positions.
Storm found Kharlton Belmar behind the Monarch defense in the 48’, and the Ranger forward beat Sparrow handily into the side netting to make the score 2-1. However, Beltran got into a scuffle over the ball in the Monarchs net and was given a yellow card blunting some off the effect of the goal.
Velasquez and Velazco nearly combined for a quick reply in the 51’ forcing an athletic save by Greczek.
Both sides continued to push and fight for momentum until Aaron Maund came off after a solid 60’ in favor of Michael Gallagher and Jesus Leal went down with an injury in the 64’ minute. Leal attempted to play on, but was substituted off in the 70’ as Taylor Peay came in as a cente rback and Gallagher moved up into a defensive midfield role.
At the same time, Felipe Hernandez replaced Lebo Moloto and brought new legs into the Ranger’s attack which allowed them to shift play to the Monarch’s half for the final 20 minutes of the match.
In the 74’ minute Erick Palmer-Brown found the end of a cross from Oliveira and made a nice header but directly to the arms of Sparrow.
Valesquez went down following heavy contact in the the 78’ and Daniel Haber came on moving Velazco into the center. The Monarchs’ defense stood against persistent runs by the Rangers as play continued to get rougher. First Duke in the 82’ and then Velazco in the 84’ made hard challenges and received yellow cards.
The Monarchs’ final chance came in the 88’ when Andrew Brody made an athletic move to keep the ball in play up against the end line only to have Greczek pushing his subsequent shot wide for a clearance.
Well into the five minutes of stoppage time Sparrow made a diving one handed stop on a shot by Amer Didic to preserve the victory and leave the Monarachs with a full three points and undefeated at home.
The Monarchs will have a full 10 days to prepare for their next match against Los Dos at Stub Hub in Carson, California.
19’ – SLC – Chandler Hoffman (Max Lachowecki)
36’ – SLC – James Moberg (Aaron Maund)
48’ – SPR – Kharlton Belmar
Real Monarchs SLC: (4-2-3-1) Sparrow; Lachowecki, Maund (Gallagher 61’), Moberg, Curinga; Besler, Leal (Peay 71’); Velazco, Velasquez (Haber 79’), Brody; Hoffman
Sounders 2: (4-3-3) Greczek; Storm, Didic, Palmer-Brown, Pasher (Maher 45’); Moloto (Hernandez 70’), Musa, Duke; Belmar, Oliveira (Selbol 82’), Iwasa
Three Highlights for the Monarchs:
- The Monarchs were able to fight through a tough second half where the Rangers unleashed the dogs to grind out another home victory.
- Hometown boy Taylor Peay was able to make his first appearance for the Monarchs .
- The Monarch’s two goals leave them with 15 for the season in only six matches, nearly half of the 31 goals they scored in the entire 2016 season.
RSL.COM: Quote Sheet: Monarchs 2-1 Swope Park
USLSOCCER.COM: Monarchs Set Tone Early, Top Rangers
USLSOCCER.COM: Monarchs’ ‘Grit’ Solidifies West Position
FACEBOOK: James Moberg Post Game Interview
FACEBOOK: Mark Briggs Post Game Interview