Photo courtesy Arizona United SC
PEORIA, Ariz. – Arizona United SC took a 3-2 victory against Real Monarchs SLC on Saturday night at the Peoria Sports Complex in a game that saw both sides hold the lead before United rallied to victory. Arizona opened the game well, as Chris Cortez had an early shot saved by Monarchs goalkeeper Eric Osswald, and took the lead in the 13th minute when a pass by Tony Cascio created a shooting chance for Luke Rooney, who drove a low finish into the left corner from 20 yards. The Monarchs took longer to get into the game, but started to create danger in the final 15 minutes of the half. Real’s equalizer came moments before the break, as Pedro Baez launched home a finish from 35 yards that found the top-left corner to make it 1-1. The Monarchs flew out of the gates to start the second half as Arizona goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski made a pair of big saves inside the opening four minutes, and Real took the lead just past the hour-mark when Ameth Ramirez controlled well and finished inside the penalty area. Rooney almost answered immediately for Arizona, but United made it 2-2 in the 64th minute when Peter Kelly volleyed home from 15 yards off a first-time assist by Cortez. Arizona then regained the lead when Long Tan redirected a shot by Rooney home with 15 minutes to go, and that proved enough to give the hosts victory in their home finale.
13’ – AZ – Luke Rooney (Tony Cascio)
45’ – SLC – Pedro Baez
61’ – SLC – Ameth Ramirez
64’ – AZ – Peter Kelly (Chris Cortez)
75’ – AZ – Long Tan (Luke Rooney)
Three Things That Matter:
1. After the deflation of Tuesday night’s defeat that eliminated the side from playoff contention, Arizona put on a terrific show for its fans in its home finale to come back for victory against the Monarchs. Luke Rooney’s opening goal was another fine finish in a first season full of them for the English midfielder, while Peter Kelly’s volleyed finish off Chris Cortez’s first-time assist was another contender for Goal of the Month from the club. Long Tan’s redirected finish – his 29th goal for the club – then claimed victory for United, which can now push on to 2017 with some good pieces to build around.
2. While United had nothing but pride to play for, the Monarchs could have claimed eighth place on Saturday night had it held onto its second half lead. Real was quiet for most of the first half until Pedro Baez’s thunderous strike pulled the side level, and the goal seemed to spark the Monarchs to life to start the second half, as Ameth Ramirez gave them the lead just past the hour-mark. A quick response from United seemed to quiet the Monarchs’ attack, though, and they now have to not only get a result next Saturday, but hope for help as well.
3. The Monarchs will now need to not only take victory as it visits the LA Galaxy II next Saturday night, but also hope that neither of San Antonio FC and Orange County Blues FC take victory, with both sides now sitting ahead of the side in the standings. The Portland Timbers 2 could also play a role next Saturday, depending on their result on Sunday against Vancouver, as the final charge for the playoffs could see plenty of hopes rise and fall.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Luke Rooney, Arizona United SC – Rooney had a goal and assist to lead United to an entertaining victory in the club’s home finale for the 2016 regular season.
Arizona United SC at Portland Timbers 2 – Sept. 24, 10 p.m. ET, Merlo Field
Real Monarchs SLC at LA Galaxy II – Sept. 24, 10:30 p.m. ET, StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium