Real Monarchs SLC (8-6-3, 27 points, 7 West) has seen ups and downs throughout the first half of the 2019 USL Championship season, however, with half of the season in the bag, the Monarchs have begun to see everything fall into place.
After Friday’s contest against Tacoma Defiance, the Monarchs extended its hot run of form with its fifth-consecutive win. The undefeated run saw the Monarchs climb up from near the bottom of the Western Conference table above the playoff line to the 7th spot.
AN ATTACKING POWER
After 17 games, 15 players have scored in a Monarchs jersey from various positions across the pitch. Led by the Honduran international FW Douglas Martinez – who recorded the first hat-trick in club history to push his team-leading goal count to nine on July 13 – the Monarchs have scored 37 goals, sitting 4th in the league for goals scored with 16 goals in the last five games.
The powerful Monarchs offensive has averaged just over two goals per game, putting away goals in 14 consecutive matches with nine of those seeing two or more goals. The Monarchs offense has topped five opponents by two or more goals, dominating Rio Grande Valley FC, LA Galaxy II, and Tacoma Defiance with five goals in each contest.
“We have had good quality going forward,” Interim Head Coach Jamison Olave said. “Players have taken time to know each other. In this time of the year, we have been working for a long time now. We can see the result of the work. They complement each other. They know each other’s movements and how they act on the field and it makes it easy for them.”
A COMPACT DEFENSE
In the last five matches, the Monarchs backline has begun to fall in place. Limiting its opposition to just 16 shots on frame and conceding only five goals in its last five matches, the solid defensive line of the Monarchs has played an integral part in keeping the team undefeated since May.
After the match against Tacoma Defiance, Real Monarchs has now registered four clean sheets, three of which belong to the young 18-year-old GK David Ochoa. At the halfway point, the Monarchs have conceded 29 goals to provide the Utah side with a +8 goal differential.
“When you score what happens next?” Olave said after the Monarchs 1-0 win over New Mexico United. “We showed how to defend when you get the lead and that led to the three points. That was four games straight just winning, but we have to take it game-by-game. During the week we have to keep working hard, keep working on putting our game plan into the game and see how we succeed.”
The 2019 USL Championship season is far from over with another 17 games on the horizon. The Monarchs sit above the playoff line and second on the regional Four-Corners Cup table. The Monarchs game plan has begun to take shape as momentum has swung in the favor of the Utah team.
“This is a very good season,” FW Douglas Martinez said after training. “I’m happy because we are helping the team and that is what we want to do.”
The Monarchs return to action for the start of a two-game road trip in Texas when it plays El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday, July 20 at Southwest University Park before visiting Toyota Field against San Antonio FC on July 27. Both match-ups will be available to watch live on ESPN+.