Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
SAN ANTONIO – Max Lachowecki scored with four minutes to go as USL Western Conference leader Real Monarchs SLC earned a 2-2 draw with San Antonio FC on Saturday night in front of 7,642 fans at Toyota Field. San Antonio (10-1-7, 37pts) almost took the lead in the 17th minute when a shot by A.J. Ajeakwa hit the right post after being played into the penalty area by Rafa Castillo, allowing Monarchs goalkeeper Connor Sparrow to claim the rebound. Ten minutes later the hosts took the lead, however, as Billy Forbes stole possession on the left side of the attacking third, and centered a pass to Devin Vega that the 18-year-old controlled and then sent low into the left corner from the top of the penalty area. The Monarchs (14-2-2, 44pts) hit back five minutes later from the penalty spot when Chandler Hoffman was brought down just inside the area by Sebastien Ibeagha, and the forward buried his shot low into the right corner as Diego Restrepo dove the wrong way. Ajeakwa almost gave the hosts the lead again in the 65th minute as he got in behind the defense, only for Sparrow to make a fine save, but three minutes later SAFC regained the upper hand as Kris Tyrpak got to a low ball through the six-yard area by Ibeagha that he put home just in front of his marker. The Monarchs grabbed another equalizer with five minutes to go, however, as Max Lachowecki headed home from Chase Minter’s cross from the right into the right corner of the net. San Antonio had one last chance to grab victory, but another good save by Sparrow denied the fullback’ chance from the left to preserve a point for the Monarchs.
27’ – SA – Devin Vega (Billy Forbes)
32’ – SLC – Chandler Hoffman (penalty)
68’ – SA – Kris Trypak (Sebastien Ibeagha)
86’ – SLC – Max Lachowecki (Chase Minter)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Far from the game of cat and mouse that was expected, San Antonio forced the issue from the outset, and it resulted in the opening goal of the game as Billy Forbes picked the pocket of a defender in an attacking position and was quickly joined by support that resulted in Devin Vega’s clean finish. The pressure was a fascinating wrinkle thrown into the game that certainly appeared to throw off the Monarchs from their normal form. The visitors completed only 72 percent of their passes, and less than 60 percent in the attacking half, as San Antonio carried the game to their guests proactively.
2. That the Monarchs were able to hit back as quickly as they were after SAFC had taken the lead was crucial to the visitors hopes, as a rare mistake by Sebastien Ibeagha resulted in a penalty kick for Real as he fouled Chandler Hoffman just inside the penalty area. Hoffman was clinical from the penalty spot to get the game back on level terms, and now sits just two goals back of Romario Williams for the USL lead as his pursuit of the USL Golden Boot continues.
3. Monarchs Head Coach Mark Briggs was forced to make the move to bring on Chase Minter in the 22nd minute for Andrew Brody after the winger suffered a knock to his ankel, which also adjusted the Monarchs’ formation as he the opening to the game didn’t take shape to his pleasing. It took until four minutes to go for the move to pay off fully, but Minter’s performance was key to the visitors claiming a point as his calm passing and ability to organize in the middle of the field brought better structure to the side. He then served up a perfect cross to Lachowecki with four minutes to go to provide the equalizer for the Western Conference leaders, who now head on to face Rio Grande Valley FC after pulling off a great escape.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Chase Minter, Real Monarchs SLC – Minter’s introduction changed the Monarchs’ shape, and the midfielder provided the crucial final ball to earn his side a point on the road.
San Antonio FC at Phoenix Rising FC – July 29, 11 p.m. ET, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
Real Monarchs SLC at Rio Grande Valley FC – July 26, 8 p.m. ET, H-E-B Park