The Switchbacks are the only team that has been able to reverse the Monarchs very successful pattern of jumping out to a quick lead and then holding off any attempt to comeback. During their Week 3 match on April 15th at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs the Switchbacks scored two quick goals in the 15’ and 19’ and managed to hold off the Monarchs attack despite allowing them 69.2% of the possession. Although both sides had 5 shots on goal, the Switchbacks were the team to put two away and emerge victorious.
This match was also one of the few time that the composure that seems to pervade the Monarchs cracked with Charlie Adams being shown two yellow cards and ejected from the match during stoppage time.
Since their first meeting the Monarchs have recorded four straight victories while outscoring their opponents 10-2 and become the highest scoring team in the league with 20 goals. In addition, their last two matches with Conner Sparrow in goal have been clean sheets.
Chandler Hoffman and Sebastian Velasquez lead the Monarchs with 4 goals apiece while three other players have tallied 2 goals and another five players have a single goal. James Moberg, Max Lachowecki, Nick Besler continue to play ever minute and have solidified the Monarchs defense which tended to leak goals in the early season.
Colorado Springs come into Rio Tinto following 2-0 victory over the PDL side FC Tucson on Wednesday in US Open Cup play. Since the first match with the Monarchs the Switchbacks have 1-2-2 record scoring 8 goals while also allowing 8 goals.
Colorado Springs overall USL record of 3-3-4 after 10 matches is good enough to tie Seattle Sounders FC 2 for third place in the Western Conference although both remain 8 points behind second place Real Monarchs SLC.
Mastanabal Kacher , who scored the first goal against the Monarchs, leads the Switchbacks with 4 goals while Shane Malcolm, Aaron King (who also scored against the Monarchs) and Jordan Burt have two each. Goalkeeper Moise Pouaty, who first saw action against the Monarchs, has been strong in goal and has 19 saves in his 6 appearances.
The Switchbacks and Monarchs are up to 8 matches over three seasons with the Monarchs having a 2-5-1 record overall, but a 1-1-1 record in the friendly confines of Rio Tinto. The matches at the Riot have traditionally been low scoring affairs with only 4 goals total divided equally with two apiece.
What to watch for
After two shutouts and an defense that seems to be hitting it stride things look good for the high scoring Monarchs to avenge their only loss of the season. Both sides had two matches during the previous week, but both of Colorado Springs were on the road at Portland and Vancouver. The Switchbacks also had the US Open Cup match on Tuesday and so could be feeling the toll on stamina and be looking to rotate.
Once again there is no reason to expect that the Monarchs will play any differently than they have so far this season. They will be looking to press for an early goal and to create frequent chances. Even with a lead, the Monarchs continue to push and rely upon their defense to make the plays necessary to hold them in the game.
Emilio Orozco and Chase Miner continue to limited by injuries, but the remainder of the team appears to be healthy and with the injury situation at RSL becoming clearer we should start to see more players from the parent squad seeking to get playing time. Tony Beltran has been widely rumored to be ready for a rehab appearance with the Monarchs prior to finding the field for the first time with RSL.
All in all, this one looks to be an exciting an wide open affair between a couple of teams ready to press for goals and find the back of the net.
Real Monarchs: (4-2-3-1) Fernandez; Curinga, Moberg, Peay, Lachowecki; Besler, Adams; Brody, Velasquez, Haber; Hoffman
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: (4-2-3-1): Pouaty; Suggs, Phillips, McFarlane, Burt; Argueta, Prugh; Malcolm, Perez, Kacher; King
When: Saturday, May 20, 7:00pm MDT
Where: Rio Tinto — Sandy, UT
Weather: 68 degrees, Sunny