Real Monarchs

Real Monarchs Draw 0-0 (5-4) with Portland Timbers 2

HERRIMAN, Utah (Friday, March 15, 2024) – 

On a brisk night under the lights at Zions Bank Stadium, Real Monarchs worked through 90 scoreless minutes in their season opener against Portland Timbers 2 before earning the two points in an emphatic 5-4 penalty kicks victory.  Although the scoreline was even through 90 minutes of play, Real Monarchs was dominant in possession and passing throughout the fixture, out-passing their opponents by nearly 200 and nearly doubling their shot total. 

Monarchs came out applying pressure from the first whistle, consuming the lion’s share of possession through 30 minutes and creating chances in the opposition’s box. The opportunities came early and often in the first half, with Monarchs’ first chance coming in the 6th minute as Omar Alba pinged a laser from the midfield to the feet of Damien Barker John at the edge of the box, narrowly missing the shot. Then, without delay, another chance came in the 8th minute as another laser from the midfield was launched to the feet of Barker John in a dangerous spot, this time from the right foot of Matthew Bell.

The first-half Monarchs defense was tested but maintained its integrity, specifically bolstered in two areas. First, the combination of Tommy Silva and Bell locked down any threat of offensive success on the left wing, and second, central defender Alba consistently found himself in one-on-one situations with his back to the box, coming out on top each time.

Salt Lake’s best chance of the first half came in the 35th minute of play when Ball, threatening along the left wing, floated a ball across the front of goal for Ilijah Paul who, instead of taking a touch, threw his torso forward in an attempt to ‘chest’ the ball into the net, narrowly missing out on an SC-Top-10-quality play as it was scooped up by the keeper.

Coming out for the second half, both teams were eager for offense, playing with an increased aggression and fluidity while looking to move vertically. Monarchs quickie created three goal scoring opportunities - first in the 50th when Tommy Silva played a ball across the front of goal that was narrowly missed by Owen Anderson, then again in the 53rd when Luca Moisa beautifully held up play in the center of the park, allowing the team to spring forward around him before playing forward to a point-blank shot Paul, and finally in the 58th when Barker John went for goal from a free kick just outside the box, putting it narrowly over the bar. Their last concrete chances of the contest came in the 77th minute when Monarchs got their heads on the end of back-to-back corner kicks, one being saved and the other going just wide.

Stylistically, Monarchs were slow in their build-up, content to eat up possession and drag Timbers defenders out of place before vaulting quickly through a pivot in the midfield, often Moisa and Griffin Dillon. Once the ball advanced through midfield, the pivots looked to play around the outside dynamics of their wingers and corresponding overlapping fullbacks, getting the ball deep and playing cutback passes across the face of goal.

The dam would prove sturdy though, as neither team could end the stalemate and, per MLS Next Pro rules, the two teams entered a penalty shootout to fight it out for the third point.


Monarchs: Starlie (Goal, top right corner), Bell (Goal, off-speed right corner), Redzic (Goal, left corner), Silva (Goal, power shot left), Dillon (Missed, saved off left post), Alba (Goal, power shot left)

Timbers: Penn (Missed, diving save left), Pope (Goal, power shot left), Ferdinand (Goal, power shot left), Neville (Goal, power shot left), Linhares (Goal, off-speed left corner), Enrquez (Missed, saved low right)


Real Monarchs (4-2-3-1): Fernando Delgado, Keller Storlie, Omar Alba, Zach Fransworth, Tommy Silva, Muca Moisa (Jude Wellings, 67), Griffin Dillon, Owen Anderson (Izzy Amparo, 67), Damien Barker John (Omar Marquez, 72), Matthew Bell, Ilijah Paul (Beni Redzic, 89)

Subs not used: Sebastian Joffre, Kristian Kelly, Booby Pierre, Marzuq Puckerin, Gio Villa

Portland Timbers 2: Ryan Bilichuk, Sawyer Jura, Kaveh Rad, Keesean Ferdinand, Jaden Jerone Jones-Riles, Victor Enrquez, Harvey Neville, Kyle Linhares, Joshua Penn, Noah Santos, Mataeo Bunbury (Alexis Manzo Mendoza, 78)

Subs not used: Carver Miller, Christian Mendoza, Max Eisenberg, Ricardo Bautista, Daniel Nunez, Blake Pope, Braxton Taghvai-Najib

Stats Summary: SLC / PORShots: 13 / 7

Shots on Goal: 3 / 1

Saves: 1 / 3

Corner Kicks: 9 / 2

Fouls: 18 / 8


SLC: Anderson (Yellow, 32)