Photo courtesy Real Monarchs SLC
SANDY, Utah – Sebastian Saucedo scored twice, and Chandler Hoffman had a goal and two assists, as Real Monarchs SLC took a 4-1 win against Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Rio Tinto Stadium to move eight points clear at the top of the Western Conference on Saturday night. The Monarchs threatened early through U.S. U20 international Saucedo, who flashed a shot just wide of the left post in the seventh minute. Real continued to hold the upper hand, although S2’s Charles Renken forced a save from Monarchs goalkeeper Connor Sparrow in the 21st minute, and Saucedo gave the hosts the lead in the 31st minute as Hoffman laid off a pass to the attacking midfielder, who then beat two defenders and finished low into the left corner. Hoffman added his 11th goal of the season five minutes before the break as he controlled Reagan Dunk’s header off a corner in the six-yard area and quickly turned and finished, and then played provider again as Max Lachowecki added a third in first-half stoppage time for his second assist of the night. The Monarchs remained in control after the break, but midway through the second half lightning in the area saw the players leave the field. After the sides returned, Saucedo added his second of the night with 17 minutes to go as he cut in front the left and saw his shot deflect off a defender into the net. S2 pulled a goal back through Paul Rothrock with 12 minutes to go as he slipped in for a close-range finish, but the Monarchs closed out a comfortable win as they increased the gap on the chasing pack.
31’ – SLC – Sebastian Saucedo (Chandler Hoffman)
40’ – SLC – Chandler Hoffman (Reagan Dunk)
45+’ – SLC – Max Lachowecki (Chandler Hoffman)
73’ – SLC – Sebastian Saucedo (Karsten Hanlin)
77’ – SEA – Paul Rothrock (David Olsen)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Monarchs extended their lead at the top of the Western Conference with their second win of the week after another vintage display by Chandler Hoffman, who added to his midweek brace against OKC Energy FC with a goal and two assists. Hoffman has found a knack for being in the right place at the right time over his career in the USL, and his tally against S2 proved no different as he found space alone to take advantage of Reagan Dunk’s header from a corner to quickly turn and finish before the defense had a chance to reach. The 2014 All-League selection is now in range of both Charleston’s Romario Williams and Reno’s Dane Kelly for the lead in the race for the USL Golden Boot.
2. While Hoffman continued to shine, Sebastian Saucedo illustrated why he is so highly regarded not only within the Real organization, but also on the national level. A member of the U.S. U20 World Cup squad earlier this season, Saucedo’s speed and technique was on show all night as he notched two goals, and proved a threat to the S2 defense for much of the night. Playing alongside Ricardo Velazco and Hoffman, the playmaker shone brightly again in his first appearance for the Monarchs since the 2015 season.
3. S2 battled hard all night, and were rewarded with a goal late on by Paul Rothrock, but their defeat continued a string of six consecutive games in which it has alternated wins and losses. Seattle remains solidly in playoff contention, and while there’s no shame in losing to the Western Conference leader, finding a run of more consistent form will be key in the next few games to ensuring a potential place in the postseason is waiting for them as they enter the home stretch of the season.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Sebastian Saucedo, Real Monarchs SLC – Saucedo scored twice, and was a threat throughout the night as he showed the full range of his attacking abilities.
Real Monarchs SLC at San Antonio FC – July 22, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Field
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Orange County SC – July 16, 5 p.m. ET, Starfire Stadium