Herriman, Utah (Friday, April 8, 2022) – Real Monarchs (0-2-1, 1 point) fell short of a comeback at Zions Bank Stadium, crawling back from a two-goal deficit against Minnesota United FC 2 (1-2-0, 3 points), but still shy of a result, with the match ending 3-2 in favor of the visiting side. 

Defender Bobby Pierre netted his first goal in MLS NEXT Pro 90 seconds into the second half, while Captain Pedro Fonseca netted his third of the year.

In its second home match of the 2022 season, the Monarchs began the match with multiple opportunities in the first 15 minutes but were unable to find a shot on goal. As the half progressed, Minnesota United 2 began to take control, scoring in the 24th minute when Nabilai Kibunguchy headed a ball into the back of the net off a corner kick. MNUFC2 were able to find the goal again in the 35th minute when a defensive breakdown by the Monarchs allowed Aziel Jackson to slip through the backline and slip the ball underneath goalkeeper Blake Kelly. Real Monarchs looked to respond in the final ten minutes of the first half, but Pierre Reedy’s shot sailed just over the bar, ending the first 45 minutes of play with the Monarchs trailing 2-0.

Real Monarchs found their offensive footing moments after the second-half opening whistle when defender Marcus Vasquez sent in a cross to Pierre who was able to head the ball past Minnesota goalkeeper Fred Emmings into the bottom left corner.

As the match progressed, both sides struggled to find opportunities on goal until Minnesota broke through again in the 76th minute. Second-half substitute Diogo Pacheco made a run into the box and was able to beat Real Monarchs goalkeeper Blake Kelly to retake a two-goal lead. 

But the Monarchs continued to push for a comeback. In the 90th minute on a short cross from recent Monarchs’ signing Christian Nydegger, Pedro Fonseca made a run to the far post, diving head-first for the ball to slip it past Emmings into the bottom right corner. Despite best efforts the Monarchs were unable to create any more late-game magic and the match ended 3-2 in favor of Minnesota United 2. 

UP NEXT: Real Monarchs will be on a short break next week before heading back to the Pacific Northwest on Sunday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. MT to take on Timbers 2. The Monarchs will return to Zions Bank Stadium just five days later to face St. Louis City 2 on Friday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m. MT. 

GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:

Nabilai Kibunuguchy (Tani Oluwaseyi) 24th Minute:  On its first corner of the match, Kibunguchy headed a ball into the back of the goal off of a corner kick from Oluwaseyi for the opening goal of the match. 

Aziel Jackson (Emmanuel Iwe) 35th Minute: After a defensive breakdown by the Monarchs on a goal kick, Iwe was able to head the ball forward to Jackson who slipped through the backline for the easy finish. 

Bobby Pierre (Marcus Vasquez) 47th Minute:  The Monarchs set up a short corner that was played out to Vasquez who sent in a cross to Pierre. The defender headed the ball past the diving Minnesota goalkeeper into the bottom left corner.

Diogo Pacheco 76th Minute: Second-half substitute Pacheco made a run into the box and as he was falling to the ground he flicked the ball past a diving Blake Davis to the far post.

Pierre Fonseca (Christian Nydegger) 90th Minute: In a final push to earn points against MNUFC2, Nydegger sent a cross to the far post looking for an oncoming teammate. Fonseca beat his defender with a diving header that was able to squeeze by Emmings into the bottom right corner. 

NOTES: 

-Midfielder Pedro Fonseca scored his third goal of the 2022 season, tied for the most in MLS NEXT Pro with Tacoma Defiance’s Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and New England Revolution II’s Damian Rivera.

-Real Monarchs’ starting XI against MNUFC2 had an average age of 18 years old with Luis Rivera being the youngest at 14, and Pedro Fonseca being the oldest at 25 years old.

- 11 of the 15 players available for the Monarchs during Friday’s match against MNUFC2 were current or former RSL Academy products.

-Defenders Bobby Pierre and Pierre Reedy returned to the starting XI against MNUFC2 after joining Real Salt Lake last week for its match against Colorado as extreme hardship signings. 

-Defenders Bobby Pierre and Marcus Vasquez earned their first tallies on the score sheet in MLS NEXT Pro with Pierre scoring his first goal and Vasquez earning his first assist. 

-RSL Academy products Gabriel Oksanen and Abokye Biyeombe made their professional debuts against Minnesota United 2, coming into the match as second-half substitutes.

Match: Real Monarchs vs Minnesota United 2

Date: April 8, 2022

Venue: Zions Bank Stadium

Weather: 66 and clear 

Scoring Summary:     1     2     F 

Real Monarchs         0     2     2

MNUFC 2             2      1    3

Lineups:

Real Monarchs (4-3-3): Blake Kelly, Pierre Reedy, Bobby Pierre, Luis Rivera, Marcus Vasquez, Izzy Amparo (Abokye Bikyeombe) , Christian Nydegger, Pedro Fonseca, Jude Wellings (Jack Imperato), Leo Torres (Gabriel Oksanen), Yekeson Subah 

Subs not used: Javier Zaragoza 

MNUFC2 (4-3-3): Fred Emmings, Devin Padelford, Jason Ramos, CC Uche, Nabailai Kibunguchy, DJ Taylor, Nicholas Mendona, Emmanuel Iwe (Diogo Pacheco), Aziel Jackson (Veljko Petkovic), Justin McMaster, Tani Oluwasyi (Tommy Williamson

Subs not used: Alec Smir, Anthony Mator, David Garcia, Johapson Centina, Andrew Brown

Stats Summary: MIN / RM

Shots: 17 / 7

Shots on Goal: 8 / 3

Saves: 1 / 5

Corner Kicks: 4 / 7

Fouls: 16 / 13 

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:

RM: Christian Nydegger (caution) 19’

RM: Pierre Reedy (caution) 36’

MIN: Aziel Jackson (caution) 43’

RM: Pedro Fonseca (caution) 79’

MIN: Nabailai Kibunguchy (caution) 82’

OFFICIALS:

Referee: Jordan Downs

Assistant Referees: Melissa Beck/ Karsten Gillwald

4th Official: Michael Radchuk