PORTLAND, Oregon (Sunday, September 24, 2023) – Real Monarchs (8-11-5, 31 points, 11th in West) lost their final game of the 2023 season to Portland Timbers 2 (10-16-1, 34 points, 10th in West) falling 2-1.
Within the opening minutes of the match Portland Timbers 2 found themselves on the scoreboard early in the eighth minute. Portland pressured the Monarchs backline creating a flurry of chances and despite Blake Kelly’s best efforts a deflected shot fell to the feet of Florián Monzón who notched the first goal of the match as Timbers 2 took the 1-0 lead.
Portland would extend their lead in the tenth minute after a defensive misstep by Real Monarchs after a cross from Justin Rasmussen connected with an unmarked Josh Penn inside the penalty area. Penn slotted the ball past Kelly as Portland extended their lead 2-0, but The Monarchs would quickly respond a minute later when Darón Iskenderian split two Portland defenders with a well placed through ball to Gershon Henry. Henry fired a missile into the left corner past Ryan Bilichuk, freezing the keeper for his first professional goal and cutting Portland's lead 2-1.
The Monarchs found their footing as the match progressed not allowing an on target shot after the 22nd minute in the first half and creating four dangerous looks inside Timbers 2 final third, despite the increased confidence the Utah side was unable to find the equalizer heading into the break down 2-1.
As the second half commenced Real Monarchs attempted to mount a comeback over their Oregon foes. In the 57th minute 14-year-old substitute Luca Moisa almost found the equalizer for the Monarchs as he snuck around several Portland defenders and fired a shot that was blocked at the last second by Bilichuk. In the 68th minute Iskenderian created another chance for the Monarchs as he fired a shot on target but the chance missed wide.
Kelly continued to keep Real Monarchs in the hunt for the comeback as he made several impressive stops late into the match including a diving save preventing an unmarked Blake Pope from finding the back of the net in the 75th minute. Despite several desperate attempts to create the equalizer, Portland Timbers 2 would prevent a comeback as the Monarchs fell 2-1 in the final game of the 2023 campaign.
Real Monarchs (4-3-3): Blake Kelly; Cayne Madhalngove (Lionel Dijro 46’), Omar Alba, Keller Storlie, Gershon Henry (Luca Moisa 46’); Darón Iskenderian (Sean Petrie 71’), Owen Anderson (Griffin Dillon 46’), Amferny Arias-Sinclair; Gilberto Garica (Kristian Kelly 46’), Axel Kei, Tyrone Mondi
Subs not used: Fernando Delgado, Izahi Imparo
Portland Timbers 2 (4-3-3): Ryan Bilichuk; Sawyer Jura, Keesean Ferdinand, Julian Bravo, Justin Rasmussen; Victor Griffith, Victor Enriquez (Tristan Weber 75’), Ian Shaul (Michael Vang 73’; Dawson McCartney (Diego Gutiérrez 62’), Florián Monzón, Josh Penn (Blake Pope 72’)
Subs not used: Jaden Jones-Riley, Maximilian Deisenhofer, Tega Ikoba, Tyler Clegg, Michael Dunne
POR: Ian Shaul (caution) 52’
POR: Victor Enriquez (caution) 66’
SLC: Sean Petrie (caution) 76’