DENVER, Colorado (Sunday, June 12, 2022) – Real Monarchs (0-9-2, 2 points) came up shy of a second-half comeback, dropping a 3-1 result to a veteran-heavy Colorado Rapids 2. Fourteen-year-old Homegrown forward Axel Kei netted his first professional goal, but it was not enough to overcome the home side laden with Major League Soccer level talent.
In the Club’s first meeting with their rival in the Rockies, the young Real Monarchs struggled to find a rhythm as they faced wave after wave from the much older Rapid 2 offense, but timely tackles from defenders Erik Holt and Bobby Pierre kept Colorado out of the net until a penalty in the 44th minute. Two-time Major League Soccer Cup Champion Gyasi Zardes sent the ball into the bottom left corner past Homegrown goalkeeper Gavin Beavers for the opening goal of the match, giving Rapids 2 a 1-0 lead heading into the halftime break.
Coming back from the break, the pressure continued as Colorado Rapids 2 looked for their second goal of the night, finally finding it in the 54th minute. After a bad pass from Pierre, Michael Barrios broke free from the defense before dropping it off to Jonathan Lewis, whose right-footed shot tucked inside the left post. The Monarchs looked to cut the deficit in half in the 62nd minute when second-half substitutes Terron Williams and Kei linked up on the right side, but the play was broken up by the Colorado defense, with the young forward being dispossessed by the MLS veteran, Lalas Abubakar.
In the 68th minute, Bode “Davis” Hidalgo sent a deep ball to Kei, who took a quick touch past the goalkeeper before scoring with his left foot. The goal not only cut the deficit in half but marked Kei’s first professional goal in his MLS NEXT Pro debut, making him the youngest player to appear, and the youngest to score, in the newly-formed league.
But the comeback ended there as MLS veteran Diego Rubio put the nail in the coffin with a goal of his own in the 82nd minute, putting the final score at 3-1 in favor of Rapids 2.
UP NEXT: Real Monarchs will return home to face San Jose Earthquakes II on Friday, June 17th at 7:00 p.m. MT for Star Wars night. This will be the two clubs’ first matchup of the season. Tickets are available at rsl.com/monarchs/tickets.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
COL: Gyasi Zardes (PK) 45th minute: After being awarded a penalty kick for a poorly timed tackle, Zardes stepped up and sent the ball into the bottom-left corner past Gavin Beavers for the first goal of the game.
COL: Jonathan Lewis (Michael Barrios) 54th minute: After a Monarchs turnover, Michael Barrios snuck past the defense before laying off a pass to Jonathan Lewis who took a right-footed shot, tucking it inside the left post.
RM: Axel Kei (Bode “Davis” Hidalgo) 68th minute: After taking possession away from Rapids 2, Hidalgo sent a deep ball over the top to the second-half substitute. Kei outran his defender, taking a quick touch past the goalkeeper before scoring with his left foot.
COL: Diego Rubio (Max Alves Da Silva) 82nd minute: Rubio received the ball from Max in the center of the box before rocketing a right-footed shot into the back of the net.
- Real Monarchs Julio Benitez returned to the starting lineup for the first time since April 2nd after missing time due to concussion protocol.
- RSL Homegrown Bode “Davis” Hidalgo played for the first time under his new surname since changing his last name to that of his step fathers.
-RSL Homegrown Axel Kei made his MLS NEXT Pro debut, becoming the youngest player to make an appearance in the league.
-Kei’s second-half goal broke a 4-game scoring drought as he became the youngest goalscorer in MLS NEXT Pro.
Match: Real Monarchs vs Colorado Rapids 2
Date: June 12, 2022
Venue: University of Denver Soccer Stadium
Weather: 87 and Sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Monarchs 0 1 1
Colorado Rapids 2 1 2 3
COL: Gyasi Zardes (PK) 45’
COL: Jonathan Lewis (Michael Barrios) 54’
RM: Axel Kei (Bode “Davis” Hidalgo) 68’
COL: Diego Rubio (Max Alves Da Silva) 82’
Real Monarchs (4-2-3-1): Gavin Beavers, Bode “Davis” Hidalgo, Erik Holt, Bobby Pierre, Pierre Reedy, Julio Benitez (Abokye Bikyeombe 61’), Christian Nydegger, Chris Garcia, Benjamin Rodriguez (Terron Williams 46’), Leo Torres (Axel Kei 46’), Jack Imperato (Jude Wellings 69’)
Subs not used: Blake Kelly, Izzy Amparo
Colorado Rapids 2 (3-4-1-2): Clint Irwin, Gustavo Vallecilla, Danny Wilson, Lalas Abubakar, Steven Beitashour, Bryan Acosta (Max Alves Da Silva 72’), Jack Price (Collen Warner 46’), Keegan Rosenberry (Sebastian Anderson 46’), Nicholas Mezquida (Jonathan Lewis 46’), Michael Barrios, Gyasi Zardes (Diego Rubio 46’)
Subs not used: Abraham Rodriguez, Collen Warner, Darren Yapi, Blake Malone, Anthony Markanich
Stats Summary: COL / RM
Shots: 26 / 1
Shots on Goal: 5 / 1
Saves: 0 / 2
Corner Kicks: 11 / 0
Fouls: 13 / 10
RM: Bobby Pierre (caution) 20’
RM: Jack Imperato (caution) 25’
COL: Gyasi Zardes (caution) 27’
RM: Pierre Reedy (caution) 75’
RM: Erik Holt (caution) 78’
RM: Chris Garcia (caution) 90’
Referee: Adam Rice
Assistant Referees: Jacob Herold, Charles Rupert
4th Official: Marcelo Soto