Photo courtesy Real Monarchs SLC
SANDY, Utah – Real Monarchs SLC and Tulsa Roughnecks FC played to a 0-0 draw on Monday night at Rio Tinto Stadium as the Roughnecks extended their undefeated streak to five games, and the Monarchs moved eight points clear at the top of the Western Conference. The Monarchs (15-2-3, 48pts) had the first real look at goal in the ninth minute as Sebastian Velasquez’s turning shot was comfortably saved by Roughnecks goalkeeper Fabian Cerda. Tulsa (8-8-2, 26pts) got its first look at goal arrived from a free kick midway through the half, but Juan Pablo Caffa’s effort went just over. The two playmakers continued to press, as Velasquez went close again for the Monarchs in the 33rd minute as he fired just wide of the right post and Caffa forced a low save from a tight angle by Monarchs goalkeeper Connor Sparrow two minutes later. The game remained scoreless into the second half, when the Monarchs almost grabbed the lead in the 66th minute as Daniel Haber’s shot went straight at Cerda after a good run and pass by Jose Hernandez. The Monarchs continued to push for a winner late on, and Hernandez fired a shot that flew high with three minutes to go. Tulsa had the last big chance of the game as Modou Jadama headed wide from a corner in stoppage time, but the game ended scoreless as the Monarchs’ 10-game home winning streak came to an end.
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Monarchs saw their 10-game home winning streak come to an end despite a performance that saw the hosts carry the play, but be frustrated by a solid defensive effort by the Roughnecks that limited Real’s clear looks at goal. Maybe the best chance of the night came after the introduction of substitute Jose Hernandez, whose knifing run into the right side of the penalty area created space for Daniel Haber in the center of the penalty area, but the winger – who had been firing well offensively of late – was unable to do enough with his finish as it went straight at Fabian Cerda in the Tulsa goal.
2. Sebastian Velasquez’s return to the Monarchs’ lineup provided the most consistent threat for the hosts throughout the game, as the playmaker’s first start since June 24 against Phoenix Rising FC saw him go full flight back into the contest. Velasquez’s ability to find pockets of space, and hold off defenders well saw him come close to an opening goal in the first half as his shot flashed just wide of the right post, and he also created a pair of scoring chances. While Real didn’t get the win it was looking for, the team will be pleased with Velasquez’s proper return to action.
3. The Roughnecks were always going to look at a point on the road as a positive result, and did an excellent job at forcing the Monarchs wide and holding their defensive block in place at the top of the penalty area that allowed the visitors to harass the Monarchs as they looked to play through the middle. Tulsa might even have grabbed a winner late on as the side earned some set pieces and corner kicks that could have been taken better advantage of. With the team’s undefeated streak at five games as it returns home to host Reno 1868 FC on Saturday, though, the Roughnecks will consider this a job well done.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jorge Luis Corrales, Tulsa Roughnecks FC – Corrales recorded four tackles, three interceptions and three clearances as the Roughnecks held the Monarchs scoreless on home turf for the first time this season.
Real Monarchs SLC at OKC Energy FC – August 5, 8:30 p.m. ET, Taft Stadium
Tulsa Roughnecks FC vs. Reno 1868 FC – August 5, 8:30 p.m. ET, ONEOK Field