Real Monarchs SLC kicked off the first All USL-Championship tournament – The Wasatch Winter Cup – with a tough 4-0 loss to Reno 1868 FC at the Zions Bank Academy in Herriman on Friday. While the result wasn’t what the Salt Lake team had hoped for, Head Coach Martin Vasquez found a lot to build off of with the introduction of many new faces.
“For First preseason game, I think we got some answers,” Vasquez said after the match. “We don’t have all our players, with what we have, we’ve been working hard and we are going to take this as a learning moment, as a learning experience. We got some answers, and it gives us an opportunity to work on those answers.”
The starting line-up for the Monarchs included many faces from the RSL Academy, which Vasquez fielded prior to moving to his current Head Coach position. Defenders Steve Jasso and Noah Beck along with Jordan Pena all started the game, playing through the first half, while the second half saw Academy player Ben Ortiz sub in at the 60th minute.
Reno’s early preseason start and pressure in the game proved to be a deciding factor as they notched a quick goal in the fourth minute before doubling its lead before half-time break.
Reno 1868 FC came out of the gate in the second half much the same way as the heavy pressure and a penalty kick in the 51st minute and a well-placed shot to the far corner proved to be the final goals in the match.
The dying moments of the second half saw the Monarchs switch gears, putting Reno goalkeeper Matt Bersano to the test, but ultimately could not pull one back on the score line.
“This is a different level, a different league, and it’s a learning moment for them,” Vasquez said. “It’s going to be more competitive, more physical. My thing is that the soccer is there, with our new faces not really understanding – yet – a team like Reno, the competition, but its going to come along. We have a few games then we have Sacramento on March 9th and that’s what we have to look forward to.”
The next opportunity to work comes on Monday as it plays a friendly match against Utah Valley University on Monday, February 18th before continuing on in the Wasatch Winter Cup against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Thursday, February 21st. Both matches will be hosted at the Zions Bank Academy in Herriman, with the Monday kick-off set for 3:00 p.m. MT while the Thursday match is set for 11:30 a.m. MT. Both games are free and open to the public.