SANDY, Utah (Friday, April 15, 2016) – Real Monarchs SLC (2-1-1, 7 pts) suffered its first loss of the young 2016 season, falling 0-1 at home to Arizona United SC, doomed by a 72nd-minute goal from Arizona FW Tyler Blackwood. (WATCH REPLAY / VIEW BOXSCORE at http://www.uslsoccer.com/game/show/13218480).
United improved to 2-3-0 when a chipped pass by MF Luke Rooney was flicked on to himself by Blackwood as he broke in behind the defense. The rookie forward finished with aplomb as his shot fizzed into the bottom-left corner of the net for his first as a professional, snapping Monarchs GK Lalo Fernandez’ shutout streak at 163 minutes. United was unfortunate not to add to its lead two minutes later when Sam Garza shot just high of the crossbar from inside the left side of the penalty area.
The Monarchs – missing the dynamic play of MF Ricardo Velazco, who attended to the birth of his daughter – struggled in the windy conditions at Orem’s Clyde Field on the campus of Utah Valley University to maintain possession and string together passes in its signature fashion throughout the night.
After conceding the goal, Head Coach Freddy Juarez’ team pressed on in an effort to equalize, seeking to extend a nine-game undefeated streak dating back to last season. However, United’s defense held firm to take its second win of the season.
Arizona had carried much of the play early on, and got a good early chance four minutes in when a chipped pass by Daniel Antunez over the top released Chris Cortez, but the forward wasn’t able to elevate his finish past Monarchs goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez, who saved easily.
Rooney also got an early look on goal for the visitors, as his turning shot from the top of the penalty area went just wide of the left post. Moments later, Blackwood broke in behind the defense, only for Fernandez to make a good save to deny him.
The Monarchs’ first good chance arrived in the 16th minute when a good piece of possession arrived with Andrew Brody on the left side. The rookie cut inside onto his right foot and sent a curling effort to the far post, but it went just wide.
Real almost had a big chance open up just before the break as Amass Amankona found Brody free on the right, but the winger’s touch carried the ball away and his cross under pressure sailed high to leave the game scoreless at the break.
Arizona had a good chance early in the second half as Julian Ringhof got on the end of a free kick for a header, but his effort went high of the crossbar. The Monarchs too threatened, as hometown product Maikon Orellana – who entered the game as the league’s scoring leader with three goals in as many games to kick off the season – saw his shot from the top of the penalty area tipped over the crossbar by Arizona goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski, denying the hosts on their finest chance of the evening.
As the game began to open up, so did the chances for both teams. Rooney fired a shot from distance wide of the left post for Arizona, while Orellana had a shot blocked by Uchenna Uzo as he looked to break forward for the Monarchs at speed. Orellana threatened again when Monarchs opened up another chance for their leading scorer in the 65th minute, only for his shot to find the side-netting.
The hosts looked for a response, and almost found one when Jamaican forward Kevaughn Frater broke up possession just inside the United penalty area. The ball broke to Eti Tavares, only for his shot to go just high and wide of the right post. The Monarchs then had a penalty claim turned down when Frater went down under pressure from behind in the right side of the penalty area, but in the closing stages Arizona’s defense did enough to ward off the danger and close out the win.
The Monarchs are back at Rio Tinto Stadium twice in the coming weeks, welcoming the Rio Grande Valley Toros on Saturday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m. and Seattle Sounders 2 on Tuesday, April 26, with kickoff also at 7:00 p.m. MT. Tickets for both games are available at www.RSL.com/Monarchs.
The general public sale for 2016 Monarchs season tickets is ongoing. In addition, Real Salt Lake season ticket members can join the Crown Club (www.RSL.com/tickets/Crown-Club) by adding Real Monarchs season tickets for as low as $54, including exclusive Crown Club benefits. The Rio Tinto Stadium box office is open Tues.-Fri., 10a-6p; more information can be found online at www.RSL.com/Monarchs/Schedule or via the Fan Relations Hotline at 801-727-2702.
After Friday’s Clyde Field debut against Arizona, the club will also host three additional “On Tour” matches throughout Utah and Nevada this season. First, the Monarchs will host Orange County Blues at the University of Utah’s soccer field near the Huntsman Center on Saturday, May 21, time TBD.
Then on Saturday, June 11, the Monarchs host rival Sacramento Republic FC at Aces Ballpark in Reno, Nev., site of the USL’s 2017 expansion side, before returning to Clyde Field in Orem for the fourth and final “On Tour” match on Friday, July 22 against Arizona again, celebrating Pioneer Day Weekend prior to RSL’s home match that evening at Rio Tinto Stadium against San Jose Earthquakes.