Sandy, Utah (Friday October 20, 2017) – Real Monarchs SLC saw its historic season come to an end Friday night at Rio Tinto Stadium, falling in the USL Cup Western Conference Quarterfinals in a penalty kick shootout against Sacramento Republic FC. The Monarchs won the USL Regular Season Championship, setting several USL records along the way, but could not outlast the No. 8 seed in the first playoff match in club history, falling 3-1 in the shootout after playing to a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.
In a back-and-forth first half, Sacramento controlled possession, but the Monarchs held a 6-5 shots advantage. DF Taylor Peay made a sliding stop on one Sacramento shot and GK Connor Sparrow made a diving save on another just before the halftime whistle and the two sides went into the break knotted in a scoreless tie.
Sacramento got out to a quick start in the second half, though, and nabbed a 49th minute goal through Luis Espino to take the 1-0 lead. FW Chandler Hoffman nearly equalized in the 81st minute on a cross from MF Danny Cruz, but his header skipped just wide of the far post. In the 85th minute, DF Max Lachowecki was brought down in the box for a penalty. Hoffman converted the penalty to equalize the match and send it to extra time.
Both teams had early opportunities in the first overtime period, but saves from the two goalkeepers kept the match tied up and sent the match to a shootout. In the first two rounds, Sacramento converted its chances while the Monarchs saw the first sail high and the second was saved. The teams traded goals in the third round, but then Hoffman had his effort saved by Evan Newton, sending Sacramento through to the Western Conference Semifinal round.
SAC – Luis Espino (Wilson Kneeshaw, Villyan Bijev), 49th minute: Sacramento midfielder Villyan Bijev played the ball up the right side of the box for Wilson Kneeshaw, who dropped it back for Luis Espino crashing down the middle for a first-time shot into the net.
SLC – Chandler Hoffman (PK), 86th minute: DF Max Lachowecki drew the penalty after a cross from the right side slipped through to the far side of the box and Lachowecki was taken down. Hoffman stepped over the ball and shot to his right while the keeper dove the wrong way, netting the equalizer.
KEY SAVES AND DEFENSIVE STOPS:
SLC – Taylor Peay, 34th minute: Wilson Kneeshaw got out on a break up the left side and shot from just outside the six-yard box, but Peay was there to make the sliding stop, blocking the would-be goal off the Sacramento forward’s foot.
SLC – Connor Sparrow, 45th minute+: In first-half stoppage time, Sacramento took a free kick from just outside the box that was bound for the far corner, but Sparrow dove to his right to make a stellar save to keep the match scoreless entering halftime.
SLC – Connor Sparrow, 64th minute: A long-range shot from Sacramento forced Sparrow to dive to his left to clear the ball at the far post, parrying it away for a corner.
SLC – Connor Sparrow, 91st minute: Hayden Partain snapped a header off a cross from the right side and Sparrow came up big with a dive to his right to paw the ball clear.
SAC – Evan Newton, 98th minute: Sebastian Velasquez unfurled a shot from distance and Newton dove to his right to make the save. The rebound came out to Danny Cruz and his shot was blocked clear for a corner.
- The Monarchs made its first-ever appearance in the USL Playoffs, coming in as the top seeded team in the tournament.
- The Monarchs had two players on loan from Real Salt Lake – GK Connor Sparrow and MF Nick Besler – who were both promoted to the MLS club during the regular season.
Match: Real Monarchs vs Sacramento Republic FC
Date: October 20, 2017
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Weather: Cloudy and 47 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 OT1 OT2 F
Real Monarchs 0 1 0 0 1
Sacramento Republic FC 0 1 0 0 1
Goal Scoring Rundown:
SAC – Luis Espino (Wilson Kneeshaw, Villyan Bijev), 49’
SLC – Chandler Hoffman (PK), 86’
SLC – Danny Cruz (miss), Sebastian Velasquez (save), Daniel Haber (goal), Chandler Hoffman (save)
SAC – Hayden Partain (goal), James Kiffe (goal), Jeremy Hall (goal)
Real Monarchs (3-5-2): Connor Sparrow; James Moberg,Taylor Peay, Emilio Orozco; Danny Cruz, Sebastian Velasquez, Nick Besler, Diego Calvo (Karsten Hanlin 59’), Max Lachowecki (Kyle Curinga 120’); Chandler Hoffman, Juan Mare (Daniel Haber 67’)
Subs not used: Andrew Putna, Michael Gallagher, Andrew Brody, Skyler Milne.
Sacramento Republic FC (4-4-2): Evan Newton; Elliot Hord, Emrah Klimenta, Chris Christian, James Kiffe; Jeremy Hall, Luis Espino, Agustin Cazarez, Villyan Bijev (Hayden Partain 84’); Wilson Kneeshaw (Tyler Blackwood 92+’), Samuel Ochoa (Lamin Suma 101’)
Subs not used: Dominick Jakubek, Peter McGlynn, Carlos Rodriguez, Harry Williams.
Stats Summary: SLC/SAC
Shots: 18 / 14
Shots on Goal: 2 / 6
Saves: 5 / 1
Corner Kicks: 5 / 10
Fouls: 17 / 14
Offside: 0 / 5
SAC – James Kiffe (Caution) 20’
SLC – Nick Besler (Caution) 38’
SLC – Max Lachowecki (Caution) 82’
Referee: Ramy Touchan
Assistant Referees: Jacob Herald, Daniel Spicer Escalante
4th Official: Brad Jensen