Photo courtesy Real Monarchs SLC
HERRIMAN, Utah – Real Monarchs SLC pushed a 10-man Las Vegas Lights for most of the 90 minutes, but the sides ended up playing to a 0-0 draw before a crowd of 4,065 as the Monarchs opened Zions Bank Stadium on Monday night. Sebastian Velasquez almost gave the Monarchs an early lead with a shot that Vegas goalkeeper Ricardo Ferrino just turned around the left post, while Luke Mulholland also went close for the hosts in the 12th minute with a chipped finish that went just over the crossbar. Lights FC’s Carlos Alvarez had the first chance for the visitors two minutes later but was unable to control a header that went high, but Las Vegas was reduced to 10 men when Marcelo Alatorre was sent off for bringing down the Monarchs’ Masta Kacher on a breakaway in the 18th minute. The Monarchs carried much of the play for the remainder of the half as both Velasquez and Kacher just missed the target with efforts as the game went to the break scoreless, and Chandler Hoffman fired just wide of the right post inside a minute of the second half kickoff. Monarchs midfielder Charlie Adams forced a diving save by Ferrino in the 69th minute on a free kick from 30 yards, and Mulholland shot just over on a free kick from 20 yards out with seven minutes to go, while Las Vegas’ Daigo Kobayashi hit the post with a curling shot that was just palmed onto the upright by Monarchs goalkeeper Connor Sparrow two minutes later. The Monarchs pushed hard for a winner in the closing moments, but when Justin Portillo’s free kick went high of the target in stoppage time it proved the final chance for the hosts as the contest ended scoreless.
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Monarchs did about as much they could to try and find the breakthrough that would have made for a perfect opening night at Zions Bank Stadium, but a staunch Las Vegas defense warded off the hosts to earn a big road point on the opening night of Real’s new home. The Monarchs put the ball in the back of the net once thanks to Chandler Hoffman early in the second half, only for the assistant referee’s flag to be raised for offside, but despite recording 15 shots overall the Monarchs only placed three on target in a frustrating night in front of goal.
2. Las Vegas was the underdog coming in, and the odds against the visitors only increased when Marcelo Alatorre was sent off inside the opening 20 minutes, but Lights FC put together a disciplined defensive display the rest of the way to hold out its hosts. Among those playing a key role in that rearguard action was goalkeeper Ricardo Ferrino, who was impeccable during the second half in coming off his line to snuff out danger both on through-balls and crosses to earn his first shutout of the season.
3. While the scoreless draw was a disappointing end to the night for the Monarchs, the crowd and atmosphere the side was welcomed by made for a memorable scene at Zions Bank Stadium. With a strong supporters section bringing streamers to the proceedings, and owner Dell Loy Hansen mingling in the crowd during the contest, you got the impression there are going to be lots of good nights ahead for the Monarchs and their fans over the course of this season, and well into the future.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jorge Guillen Torres, Las Vegas Lights FC – Guillen Torres put in a solid display as Lights FC held off the Monarchs’ pressure, finishing with three interceptions and four tackles on the night for the visitors.
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Orange County SC – May 4, 9 p.m. ET, Zions Bank Stadium
Las Vegas Lights FC vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC – May 5, 11 p.m. ET, Cashman Field