Herriman, Utah (Saturday, August 12, 2023) – Real Monarchs (6-12-4, 24 points, 12th in West) earned a draw and an extra point with a shootout victory over North Texas SC thanks to a stoppage-time goal from forward Ilijah Paul.
Real Monarchs began the match on the front foot, pressuring North Texas’ backline in search of an early goal. Forward Ilijah Paul had the first attempt of the game, a long shot from well outside the 18-yard-box, but the ball sailed over the crossbar. In the 20th minute the Monarchs threatened again, setting up a chance in front of net from a freekick, but Zack Farnsworth’s header was off target.
After a period of physical play in the midfield, the visitors counterattacked against the run of play to score the first goal of the game, as José Mulato ran on to the end of a pass inside the box to tap it in. Two minutes later Monarchs’ 16-year-old forward Zavier Gozo was in on goal with his defender behind him, but the ball took an unfortunate bounce just before it was struck and flew over the net. Despite dictating the tempo and pace of play in the opening 45 minutes, the Monarchs trailed at the break 1-0.
The second half began with a bang off the post, as Keller Storlie fancied his chances from distance and struck a bullet that rattled the frame inside the first minute. The Monarchs continued to push for an equalizer, firing off multiple shots inside the box in the 57th minute in rapid succession, but each of them were blocked by the North Texas backline.
The next half hour saw little action, apart from a stray cat tearing across the pitch, until stoppage time when Zavier Gozo was brought down 30 yards out to set up a freekick. Griffin Dillon put a well-placed ball directly onto the head of a crashing Ilijah Paul who rifled it past the ‘keeper to tie the game, sending the Monarchs into kicks from the penalty spot for a second-consecutive match.
Goalkeeper Derrek Chan made a save in the third round of the shootout and North Texas missed another in the fourth to set up Omar Alba for the winning penalty to give the Monarchs the extra point in the 1-1 draw.
UP NEXT: The Monarchs will head to Los Angeles to take on LA Galaxy II next Saturday, August 19 at 8:30 p.m. MT. The two teams met back in June at Zions Bank Stadium, when Ilijah Paul also scored a thrilling equalizer in the 90’+2’ minute to force a penalty shootout where goalkeeper Fernando Delgado made a huge save to give the Monarchs the extra point.
Real Monarchs (4-3-3): Derrek Chan; Keller Storlie, Bobby Pierre, Omar Alba, Zack Farnsworth (Gershon Henry 63’); Griffin Dillon, Darón Iskenderian (Kristian Kelley 74’), Tyrone Mondi (Owen Anderson 81’), Jude Wellings (Dominic Berrios 63’); Zavier Gozo, Ilijah Paul
Subs not used: Izahi Amparo, Abokye Bikyeombe, Gilberto Garcia, Slade Hall, Cayne Madhlangove
North Texas SC (4-2-3-1): Antonio Carrera; Nolan Norris, Amet Korça (Alejandro Araneda 46’), Henri Santos, Herbert Endeley; Carl Sainté, Andre Costa; Diego García (Anthony Ramirez 74’), Hope Avayevu (Lautaro Taboada 67’), José Mulato (Manuel Caicedo 86’); Tomas Pondeca (Theo Enrique 67’)
Subs not used: Michael Webber, Diego Pepi
RM: Griffin Dillon (caution) 27’
RM: Ilijah Paul (caution) 36’
NTX: Herbert Endeley (caution) 41’
RM: Darón Iskenderian (caution) 71’
NTX: Diego García (caution) 72’
NTX: Manuel Caicedo (caution) 90’+2’