RENO, Nev. – A battle between the top two teams in the USL Western Conference, which could shape the fate of the USL Regular Season Championship, takes place at Greater Nevada Field on Saturday night as second-place Reno 1868 FC hosts first-place Real Monarchs SLC. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT.
Reno 1868 FC news and notes
Current record: 16-6-7, 55pts
Reno took a dominant 6-1 victory against the Portland Timbers 2 last Saturday night at Greater Nevada Field to move into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference.
Dane Kelly boosted his Golden Boot chances with a brace, which moved him to 18 goals on the season, as did Antoine Hoppenot, while Lindo Mfeka and Mackenzie Pridham also found the back of the net.
Mfeka was named the USL Player of the Week following his performance across 1868 FC's two matches in Week 27 that saw him score four goals and add one assist.
Kelly now leads the race for the USL Golden Boot by a pair of goals from the Charlotte Independence's Enzo Martinez, who sits on 16 tallies. The Jamaican international is the USL's all-time leading scorer with 66 goals, but has never claimed the single-season award.
The victory was a second straight for Reno, which scored nine goals last week as it surpassed the New York Red Bulls II's record for goals in a single season. Reno enters Saturday's game having scored 69 goals with three games remaining in the regular season.
Real Monarchs SLC news and notes
Current record: 18-5-6, 55pts
The Monarchs broke a four-game winless streak on Wednesday night when they took a 2-0 win against Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday night in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 at Papa Murphy's Park.
Real's goals both came in the first five minutes of the second half against Sacramento with Juan Ignacio Mare and Chandler Hoffman finding the net for the visitors.
Hoffman's goal was his 15th of the season which set a new single-season best for the standout forward. Hoffman had scored 14 goals for Louisville City FC a season ago, and 13 for the LA Galaxy II in the 2014 season.
The Monarchs can claim the USL Regular Season Championship on Saturday night should it take victory against Reno and all three of Louisville City FC, San Antonio FC and the Swope Park Rangers fail to take victory in their respective games.
Reno – GK: Russ Klaybough, Matt Bersano, Sean Bieker; D: Jimmy Ockford, Brent Richards, Brenton Griffiths, Jordan Murrell, Kip Colvey, Thomas Janjigian, Matheus Silva; M: Riley Hanley, Marc Pelosi, Chris Wehan, Lindo Mfeka, Matt LaGrassa, Seth Casiple, Luis Felipe Fernandes, Nick von Niederhausern, Anibal Echeverria, Darwin Espinal, Jordan Roberts, Junior Burgos; F: Dane Kelly, Antoine Hoppenot, Boxi Yomba, Mackenzie Pridham, Brian Brown
Real Monarchs – GK: Connor Sparrow, Andrew Putna, David Ochoa; D: Reagan Dunk, Justin Schmidt, Demar Phillips, Chris Schuler, James Moberg, Kyle Curinga, Max Lachowecki, Emilio Orozco, Taylor Peay, Riggs Lennon; M: Sebastian Saucedo, Jose Hernandez, Charlie Adams, Diego Calvo, Nick Besler, Sebastian Velasquez; F: Andrew Brody, Daniel Haber, Chase Minter, Chandler Hoffman, Juan Mare, Skyler Milne, Jonel Desire, Danny Cruz
Reno - Accumulation warning: Jimmy Ockford
Real Monarchs – Accumulation warning: Kyle Curinga, Michael Gallagher
REF: MALIK BADAWI
AR1: Sarah Cortez
AR2: Julian Arias
4TH: Shawn Stimpson
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