Real Monarchs

Griffin Dillon Commands the Midfield in Shootout Victory

Real Monarchs 1 (4) vs. 1 (3) North Texas SC
August 12, 2023; Zions Bank Stadium; Herriman, Utah
Real Monarchs (6-12-4, 24 points); North Texas SC (6-10-7, 26 points)

Man of the Match: Midfielder Griffin Dillon wreaked havoc in the midfield, stripping North Texas of the ball countless times while also kick-starting the attack. In the final minute of stoppage time it was Dillon’s perfectly-placed cross from a free kick position that gave the Real Monarchs the equalizing goal. The assist marked his first-ever professional goal contribution.

Telling Stats: Forward Ilijah Paul recorded his team-leading fifth goal of the season, bringing his goal contribution tally to five goals and one assist in 11 games. North Texas becomes the second team the Real Monarchs have gone unbeaten against this season, recording a 1-0-1 (W-L-D) record in two matches. In the team’s eighth shootout in the past two years, goalkeeper Derrek Chan made a save to improve the team’s shootout record to 3W-5L, while also giving the squad its first back-to-back results at Zions Bank Stadium this season.

What You Missed: The two evenly-matched sides traded opportunities for most of the first half, pressuring the other’s defensive backline. It would be North Texas SC who would break through first, scoring in the 32nd minute with a sliding shot from Jose Mulato. Real Monarchs looked to equalize in the remaining first-half minutes, but were unable to find the back of the net and entered the halftime break with the one-goal deficit. Real Monarchs opened the first half with an eye toward goal, with defender Keller Storlie rocketing off a shot from deep outside the 18-yard-box, however his attempt smacked off the far post. With the lead in hand, North Texas was content to set back and allow the Monarchs to maintain possession, but despite controlling the ball, the home side was unable to create any true scoring opportunities. When it seemed as if the match was nearing its end with North Texas taking the 1-0 win, forward Ilijah Paul found the last-minute equalizer, heading in a cross from Griffin Dillon to force the game to kicks from the penalty spot. A save from goalkeeper Derrek Chan and an additional miss from North Texas would give the Real Monarchs the win in the shootout and the extra point.

What’s Next?: The Monarchs will hit the road next week to face LA Galaxy II at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, August 19 at 8:30 p.m. MT.