Real Monarchs midfielder Ricardo Velazco has caught fire in recent weeks and on Tuesday he was rewarded as the USL Player of the Week for the 10th week of the 2016 season. He tallied two goals in a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Sunday after registering an assist in the Monarchs’ 3-1 loss to the Oklahoma City Energy earlier in the week.
“I’ve just caught a good groove. I feel confident. My teammates have confidence in me. The coaching staff is confident in me. That just helps you when you’re playing knowing that you just need a half a chance to make something happen,” Velazco said. “My teammates try to find me a little bit more because they know I’m in a good rhythm right now. I’m in a good place with my teammates and myself and with the coaching staff and it makes everything else easy.”
Velazco now has five goals and three assists on the season, ranking seventh and second in the league, respectively. Velazco and Tulsa Roughnecks forward Sammy Ochoa (6 G, 3 A) are the only players in the league ranking in the top eight in both categories.
Real Monarchs trailed unbeaten Vancouver 2-0 through 44 minutes, but Velazco led the charge as Real stormed back for the draw. First he scored in the 45th minute to cut the lead in half before halftime. He then equalized in the 53rd minute and the Monarchs held on to earn the road draw to move to 3-4-4 on the season.
“It was tough. We went down 2-0 back-to-back. But we got that goal in the 45th minute and that gave us life again,” he said. “It was at a good time when we could go back and try to fix things in the locker room, which we did. Then in the second half, the second goal I scored gave us even more hope and the game was up for grabs.”
Velazco is now sitting on a four-match point streak with a goal or an assist in each game over that stretch, totaling five goals and two assists in 341 minutes during that time. The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy product is in his second season with the USL club, registering two goals and four assists in 23 matches in his rookie campaign.
The Monarchs have now had three players earn Team of the Week honors, but Velazco is the first to win Player of the Week.
He was joined on Team of the Week by goalkeeper Max Crepeau (FC Montreal), defenders Josh Suggs (Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC), Coady Andrews (OKC Energy) and Joe Farrell (Rochester Rhinos); midfielders Kyle Smith (Louisville City FC), Ryo Fujii (LA Galaxy II), Mael Corboz (Wilmington Hammerheads FC) and Pierre Da Silva (Orlando City B); and forwards Jack McBean (LA Galaxy II) and Irvin Herrera (St. Louis FC).
For more information on Team of the Week, visit USLsoccer.com.