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Real Monarchs SLC vs. Reno 1868 FC: Offensive shootout between league leaders

The Monarchs go for nine straight victories against Reno who arrive undefeated in their last seven matches.

JEngels Photgraphy

In their second rematch of the 2017 season the Monarchs will welcome a surging Reno 1868 FC squad which has benefited for a recent string of four straight home victories by moving solidly into the fight for a Western Conference playoff berth. Having played seven of their 11 matches in the friendly confines of Greater Nevada Field, Reno is hoping their recent success continues on the road where their record is only 1-2-1.

The Reno attack is lead by USL scoring leader Dane Kelly with 12 goals in 2017 and 60 in USL competition. Midfielder Antoine Hoppenot has another 4 goals while Jimmy Ockford and Lindo Mfeka have scored 2 apiece. Eight others on the squad have a single goal leading to their total of 28 goals which is second in the USL just below the 30 scored by Real Monarchs. Chris Wehan and Antoine Hoppenot remain among the Western conference leaders in chances created.

While the Reno defense has also allowed 19 goals, with 12 coming on the road, three of their last five games have been shutouts. Ex-RSL player, Jordan Murrell, Jimmy Ockford, Matt LaGrassa, and Seth Casiple have been anchors in defense and midfield playing major minutes. Matt Bersano has been in goal for three of Reno’s shutouts with Andrew Tarbell recording the other.

The Monarchs continue to be lead by Chandler Hoffman with 8 goals and Sebastian Velasquez follows with 6 goals and Nick Besler has added 3 , James Moberg, Daniel Haber, and RSL loanee Jose Hernandez all have multiple goals as well. In all, thirteen players have contributed to their league leading 30 goals.

Charlie Adams leads the Western conference with 5 assists followed by Sebastian Velasquez with 4. Together with Andrew Brody and they remain among the league leaders in chance creation.

Six Monarchs have appeared in all 12 matches and continue to develop a chemistry which shines on the field. James Moberg, Max Lachowecki continue to have played every minute followed closely by Andres Brody and James Moberg. Even with recent suspensions to Kyle Curinga and Michael Gallagher the Monarch’s defense seems to have solidified with shutouts in the last two games and five total shutouts between Conner Sparrow and Lalo Fenandez.

Match History

The Monarchs have a 1-0-0 record against expansion newcomer Reno 1868 FC winning their first match of the season 5-3 at Rio Tinto on April 6th. As regional rivals they will meet a third time at Greater Nevada Field on September 30th.

What to watch for

In a game that matches two of the leading USL scorers in this season and overall it will be important to follow how the battle in the midfield goes from the first whistle. Reno has gradually moved to a formation that positions three players in front of the defensive line in an attempt to stop breakouts and also boss the midfield. The speed and skill of Kelly and Hoppenot allow them to quickly counterattack and also take their time and build up into scoring opportunities.

The Monarchs will be at full strength will any suspensions and in good health. Charlie Adams was held out of the Open Cup match mid-week but looks to be ready for Monday night and Chandler Hoffman and Sebastian Velasquez will likely be looking to make noise after their recent disappointment of not being called up due to age.

The Monarchs will be playing for sole ownership of the USL record winning streak with 9 straight victories while Reno will be looking to stay firmly in the mix for playoff position and to establish a winning approach on the road. Both teams have the home at about the same location and will not be able to have any of the advantage they have both enjoyed with visiting teams.

Just as in their first meeting look for momentum to shift quickly and frequently in a match that seems to promise goals in perhaps large numbers.

Expected lineups

Real Monarchs: (4-2-3-1) Sparrow; Curinga, Gallagher, Moberg, Lachowecki; Besler, Adams; Brody, Velasquez, Haber; Hoffman

Reno 1868 FC: (4-3-1-2): Bersano; Richards, Ockford, Griffiths, Murrell; Casiple, LaGrassa, Wehan; Mfeka; Hoppenot, Kelly

Match info

When: Monday, June 19, 7:00pm MDT

Where: Rio Tinto — Sandy, Utah

Weather: 91 degrees, Sunny