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Monarchs Edge Out Toros

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/26/17, 10:04PM EDT


Real extends lead in Western Conference with 2-1 victory

Photo courtesy Christian Inoferio / Rio Grande Valley FC

EDINBURG, Texas – Chandler Hoffman scored his 13th goal of the season with a late penalty kick as Real Monarchs SLC earned a 2-1 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC on Wednesday night at H-E-B Park in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3. The Monarchs (15-2-2, 47pts) grabbed an early lead as a well-disguised pass by Reagan Dunk slid Daniel Haber in for a low finish to the left corner of the net in just the eighth minute. The Toros (6-9-3, 21pts) got the chance to level from the spot seven minutes later from the penalty spot after Jose Escalante was brought down in the area, but Eric Bird’s shot to the right corner was saved by Connor Sparrow. Haber almost grabbed his second of the night for Real five minutes before the break, but his shot hit the crossbar. Sparrow was called into action again in first-half stoppage time as he just turned aside Kyle Murphy’s header from an excellent back-post cross from the right by Kai Greene, and the Toros continued to push for an equalizer early in the second half. The Monarchs almost doubled their lead 12 minutes after the break, however, as Chase Minter sent a low cross in to Haber, only for Victor Garza to block the shot at point-blank range. A minute later, the Toros were level as Escalante fired a first-time shot into the bottom-right corner of the net from the top of the penalty area. The Toros almost took the lead moments later as Francisco Pungo’s breakaway chance was denied by a last-ditch sliding tackle by Max Lachowecki, and the Monarchs almost struck at the other end with 15 minutes to go as Justin Schmidt’s free header from a corner went wide. But Real regained the lead with 11 minutes to go as Charlie Adams was brought down in the penalty area and Hoffman converted from the spot for his 13th goal of the season with a low shot to the left that sent RGVFC goalkeeper Marco Carducci the wrong way. The Toros pushed again for an equalizer late on, but the Monarchs held firm to extend their lead at the top of the Western Conference.

8’ – SLC – Daniel Haber (Reagan Dunk)
58’ – RGV – Jose Escalante (Kyle Murphy)
79’ – SLC – Chandler Hoffman (penalty)

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. With four points from their two-game trip, the Monarchs will consider their visit to Texas a successful one as they bolstered their lead at the top of the Western Conference by defeating the Toros for the first time in their history on Wednesday night. While Chandler Hoffman had the game-winning goal, however, it was Daniel Haber that really shone in and around the penalty area on the night for the visitors as the Canadian could have had a hat trick if not for some excellent defending by the hosts. Returning home for a Monday night clash with Tulsa – which took victory against them earlier this season – the Monarchs are looking well set to continue their roll.

  • 2. The Toros suffered their third loss in the last four outings despite a second-half performance that could have seen the result end in their favor. As RGVFC has found recently, though, when the breaks aren’t going your way, the mistakes you make tend to be costly. The combination of Eric Bird’s saved penalty kick in the first half, and the side’s defense parting to allow the Monarchs’ Charlie Adams to draw a spot kick that Hoffman converted for the game-winner, was the difference on Wednesday night. The playoffs are still clearly within reach, but the Toros need something as they hit the road to visit Portland on Saturday.

  • 3. Maybe the best moment of the night for the Monarchs aside from picking up three points was the return to action of Sebastian Velasquez, who came on as a second-half substitute in the 63rd minute and was nicely active during his time on the field. With six goals and six assists this season prior to his injury, Velasquez has been an important component in the Monarchs attack. Getting him back and reintegrated into the lineup is only going to add to the challenge the side poses opponents. Man of the Match

Connor Sparrow, Real Monarchs SLC – Sparrow made six saves – including a fine stop on a penalty kick – and commanded his penalty area well to ensure a win late for the Monarchs.

Upcoming Games:
Rio Grande Valley FC
at Portland Timbers 2 – July 29, 11 p.m. ET, Providence Park
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC – July 31, 9 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium

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