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Why you should watch Real Monarchs vs. Phoenix Rising

Some famous guys are on this team. Does it matter?

Soccer: San Francisco Deltas at Phoenix Rising FC Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Real Monarchs play tonight against the hottest team in USL, Phoenix Rising FC.

And while I am making a joke here (because I’m the worst), there’s something to the 150-degree Phoenix heat that’s going to be aggressive and awful. And so it is that I’m glad I can watch from the comfort of a couch, where the most I’ll have to worry about is making sure the cushions have slid around too much.

Thing number one: Eleven thousand water breaks

Well, luckily for Real Monarchs, it should cool off in the Phoenix night, and that means they’ll be dealing with heat that’s maybe not so aggressive as they kick off the match at 9 p.m. — so a nice, 80-degree night should be just fine.

Except no. It’ll still be upward of 100 degrees. They better take plenty of water breaks. At least they can cool off after the match — if they stay up all night, it’ll get down to a balmy 91 degrees.

Thing number two: Didier Drogba

It’s a weird, weird world when the Drogba is playing in second-division (and only newly second-division) American soccer. But given it’s the case, it’s not surprising that he’s scoring goals. In fact, he’s played in two matches. In that time, he’s scored three goals.


That should be as firm a test as the Monarchs defense has faced. Plus, he is an owner of the club. That’s not weird at all. And it’s also not weird that some dude from Fall Out Boy, a Major League Baseball pitcher, and a rapper are in the group, too. Not weird at all.

Thing number three: Shaun Wright-Phillips

Here we go. Wright-Phillips — the less-talented brother of MLS standout Bradley Wright-Phillips (yeah, yeah, whatever) — may not have quite the pedigree of Drogba, but he is a name you’ll recognize if you paid attention to English football around 2010 or thereabouts. Is he good? Probably. But he’s only scored two goals in 10 games. I can’t wait to watch a scrappy Sebastian Velasquez show him up, because I bet that happens or something. (Imagine if he played with a better striker. He’s created 19 chances. Oh. Wait.)

Thing number four: Real Monarchs, record-breakers

You can’t stop a team with confidence. Not easily, at least. And maybe you can if you’re stacked to the gills with players that are really playing down to this level challenging themselves in a new league. But seriously, this is a firm test for Real Monarchs. It’ll be worth watching for that alone.