Photo courtesy Real Monarchs SLC
SANDY, Utah – Real Monarchs SLC took its fourth consecutive victory, and extended Sacramento Republic FC’s winless streak to six games, with a 2-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night. Sacramento (3-5-1, 10pts) had an early chance from a free kick that saw Danny Barrera’s curling effort saved by Connor Sparrow, but the Monarchs (7-1-0, 21pts) then got onto the front foot. Both Sebastian Velasquez and Daniel Haber had shots blocked inside the opening 20 minutes for Real, and it was Haber that eventually gave the hosts the lead six minutes before halftime when he capitalized on the rebound of a shot by Andrew Brody that Republic FC’s defense was unable to clear. The Monarchs came close to doubling their lead two minutes into the second half when Chandler Hoffman didn’t get clean contact on a turning shot after a low cross by Brody, but Hoffman set up Velasquez as Real struck on the counter-attack to make it 2-0 in the 58th minute. Sacramento’s Sammy Ochoa flashed a shot just wide of the right post three minutes later, but the visitors were unable to find a way back into the game despite having the bulk of possession.
39’ – SLC – Daniel Haber
58’ – SLC – Sebastian Velasquez (Chandler Hoffman)
Three Things That Matter:
1. With four consecutive victories, including two over the past four days that saw the side score five times and concede none, Real Monarchs SLC is now starting to bear an awfully similar look to the side that claimed the USL Cup a season ago, the New York Red Bulls II, except that even the Red Bulls II didn’t have 21 points from their first eight games. Another very impressive victory that saw Real look the more decisive team in possession – especially in the final third – has the Monarchs now only two points behind San Antonio FC with a game in hand, and the most goals scored in the USL.
2. As everything has fallen into place for the Monarchs, nothing quite seems to be going right for Republic FC right now, with the club’s scoreless streak now having surpassed the 500-minute mark. There are mitigating factors here, in particular the road-heavy schedule that has seen Sacramento only make host two games so far at Papa Murphy’s Park, but the lack of goals is now starting to get serious. With only five shots, and two shots on goal, on Saturday, something needs to click into gear next Saturday when Republic FC does return to its home support.
3. Sebastian Velasquez’s return to Rio Tinto Stadium as part of the Monarchs was certainly welcomed by the club’s fans when it happened, but at the root of the decision was the attacking midfielder’s ability to turn a game. The driving effort and perfectly-placed finish that gave the Monarchs their second goal on Saturday night was a perfect example, giving Velasquez his fourth goal of the season to move him into a tie for the team-lead with Chandler Hoffman. Velasquez has been a major influence on the Monarchs’ success, shining in the middle of some stellar talent.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Sebastian Velasquez, Real Monarchs SLC – Velasquez scored the insurance goal for the Monarchs, and also completed 21-of-25 passes for the game to key the victory.
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – May 20, 9 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC – May 20, 10:30 p.m. ET, Papa Murphy’s Park