Photo courtesy of Real Monarchs SLC
SANDY, Utah – It took all of 45 minutes for Real Monarchs SLC to post its best offensive performance in club history. The host side tallied four times in the opening half held off a late Reno 1868 FC rally for a 5-3 win on Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Monarchs (3-0-0, 9 points) also become the first USL team to reach three wins this season as they sit atop the Western Conference heading into the weekend. Chandler Hoffman recorded a goal and assist while Chase Minter, Sebastian Velasquez and Kyle Curinga also tallied in the first 45 minutes. The Monarchs built a 3-0 lead through the 34th minute off of Hoffman’s rebound goal. Reno’s Mackenzie Pridham stopped the bleeding briefly five minutes later, only for Real’s Curinga to up the lead to three again with a header off of a Charlie Adams corner kick. Dane Kelly, who came off the bench, hit a significant milestone as he scored his 49th and 50th career goals. The league’s all-time scoring leader made things interesting down the stretch, but Reno (0-2-1, 1 point) remains in search of its first win during its inaugural season. Jose Hernandez’s stoppage-time tally iced the game and assured the Monarchs of maintaining their perfect start to 2017.
14’ – SLC – Chase Minter (Chandler Hoffman)
26’ – SLC – Sebastian Velasquez (Nick Besler)
34’ – SLC – Chandler Hoffman
39’ – RNO – Mackenzie Pridham (Antoine Hoppenot)
43’ – SLC – Kyle Curinga (Charlie Adams)
84’ – RNO – Dane Kelly (Matheus Silva)
87’ – RNO – Dane Kelly
90+2’ – SLC – Jose Hernandez (Sebastian Velasquez)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. The scoring was evenly distributed for the Monarchs, but the engine of the team Thursday was without question Sebastian Velasquez, who played a role in the team’s first three scores. He set the tone early in the 14th minute with a beautiful through ball to Chandler Hoffman, who then had a half shot/half cross that Chase Minter rushed in on for the 1-0 lead. Velasquez found the score sheet in the 26th minute from 18 yards out as he pounced on an opportunity after Reno’s bad giveaway to Nick Besler in the midfield. The third occasion for Velasquez forced Reno goalkeeper Matt Bersano into a lunging save with his right glove. Hoffman had the easy rebound and an open frame as Bersano was too far off his line to do anything about the situation.
2. The Monarchs will look back on this game with the knowledge that even with setting a club record with its first five-goal game, a number of other opportunities were there for the taking. Defender Kyle Curinga was a perfect example. In the 33rd minute, Curinga had perhaps one of the more clear-cut opportunities to find the net, or at least put the ball on frame, when Charlie Adams’ corner kick from the right was placed perfectly to him in the middle of the box. Curinga headed it wide left and cupped his hands over his mouth in disappointment. Fortunately for Curinga, the opportunities were aplenty. Ten minutes later, on an Adams corner kick from the left side, Curinga coolly placed his header inside the right post for a 4-1 lead. Curinga was subbed off at halftime in place of Reagan Dunk, the No. 13 overall selection in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
3. Reno striker Dane Kelly certainly would have wanted a different setting and circumstance to enjoy a significant milestone. Coming off the bench, Kelly had to wait until the final 10 minutes and a hefty deficit to record a brace that puts him at 50 career goals. Kelly kept the match interested without question, as the Jamaican was clearly 1868 FC’s strongest weapon down the stretch. Earlier in that second half, he was robbed of a goal at the near right post by Monarchs goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Sebastian Velasquez, Real Monarchs SLC – Velasquez tallied a goal, assisted a second-half stoppage time goal, was the architect of Chase Minter’s opening tally and created a number of potential chances for Real’s offense.
Real Monarchs SLC at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – April 15, 8 p.m. ET, Weidner Field
Reno 1868 FC at San Antonio FC – April 15, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Field