The 18 man lineup named by Head Coach Mark Briggs was without any first team players for the first time in several matches, but included all three of the new signings, Danny Cruz, Juan Ignacio Mare, and Diego Calvo available off the bench. Nick Besler, signed earlier this week to a MLS contract, looks likely to be named for Saturday’s match with the Colorado Rapids leaving the captain’s armband to Sebastian Velasquez.
The Toros, who came out of the gate lively and looking to press all over the field, failed to generate much possession but were rewarded early following a rough touch by Connor Sparrow and a poor back pass in the 5’. Kyle Murphy got a nice searching pass at the top of the box and buried it for his 5 goal of the season and the Toros earliest score this season.
The Monarchs took some time to settle in without Nick Besler, but by the 10’ seemed to come alive and began to establish dominance as the Toros also began to pull back in defensively with their lead. Following a number of chances, Chandler Hoffman found Daniel Haber who replicated his rocket from last week from nearly the same spot on the field to tie the score up in the 18’.
The Monarchs domination continue for the remainder of the first half, but they continued to suffer with near misses and timing issues until the 45’ minutes when Chandler Hoffman acted as pivot in a superb little give and go that left Sebastian Velasquez alone with Toros’ goalie Borja Angoitia for an easy finish and a 2-1 lead as the teams left the field for half.
The Toros came out with an attempt to renew their press early in the second half, but the Monarchs continued in comfortable control and dominated possession and shot through a choppy second half. Jose Escalante had the Toros best chance with a counterattack opportunity that Connor Sparrow saved in the 61st minute.
Chandler Hoffman and Chase Minter, who entered in the 68’ to provide fresh legs, had the Monarchs best opportunities of the second half but failed to connect. Emilio Orozco made his first appearance since the first four matches of the season to replace James Moberg who was struggling with a leg knock. Juan Ignacio Mare came on late for his first appearance in a Monarchs’ uniform, but probably had more fouls that touches and picked up the Monarchs only yellow card in stoppage time.
5’ – RGV – Kyle Murphy (Eric Bird)
18’ – SLC – Daniel Haber (Chandler Hoffman)
45’ – SLC – Sebastian Velasquez (Chandler Hoffman)
22’ – RGV – TJ Casner
90+2’ – SLC – Juan Ignacio Mare
Real Monarchs SLC: (4-2-3-1) Sparrow; Curinga, Moberg (Orozco 81’), Peay, Lachowecki; Adams , Hanlin; Brody , Velasquez , Haber (Minter 81’) ; Hoffman (Mare 87’)
Rio Grande Valley FC: (4-2-3-1) Angoitia; Greene (Greene 77’), Hunter, Magalhaes, Bilyeu; Wharton, James (Luna 45’); Casner, Bird, Escalante; Murphy (Ramos Pungo 70’)
Three Highlights for the Monarchs:
- Juan Ignacio Mare came on in the second half and made a his debut for the Monarchs.
- The Monarchs continued to push despite falling behind early and were rewarded with 2 goals and a victory. .
- The Monarchs did what they could to guarantee a playoff spot, but the OKC Energy victory later tonight left that for next week and the home match with San Antonio FC.
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