Real Monarchs SLC and El Paso Locomotive FC will square off in the Western Conference Final for the right to earn their first trip to the 2019 USL Championship Final. | Photo courtesy Real Monarchs SLC
HERRIMAN, Utah – A first trip to the USL Championship Final is on the line when No. 4 seed Real Monarchs SLC hosts No. 6 seed El Paso Locomotive FC in the Western Conference Final of the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs at Zions Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.
After recording the biggest upset of the postseason so far in defeating top seed Phoenix Rising FC last Friday night, @RealMonarchs return to a venue that has provided one of the biggest homefield advantages in the Championship since it opened in Zions Bank Stadium. The Monarchs have posted the most wins on home turf in the Championship since its inaugural contest on April 30, 2018, going 24-5-6 in that span, one more win than Phoenix Rising FC and three more than fellow Conference Finalist Indy Eleven, with a +46-goal differential. After rattling off six goals in its first home playoff victory two weeks ago against Orange County SC, Real will be hoping for something similar to earn a place in the Championship Final.
@EPLocomotiveFC, however, will be able to take positives from its only previous trip to Utah earlier this season as it looks to become the lowest seed to advance to the Championship Final from the Western Conference since the league split into two conferences in 2015. Locomotive FC played to a 0-0 draw with the Monarchs on March 16, though the hosts were were reduced to 10 men for most of the match after Kalen Ryden was sent off in the 32nd minute. The man-advantage saw Locomotive FC outshoot the Monarchs 17-4, but a standout nine-save shutout by United States U-20 National Team goalkeeper David Ochoa ensured the game remained deadlocked. After securing a 3-0 victory against Sacramento Republic FC this past Saturday, Locomotive FC will be hoping former Monarchs standout Sebastian Velasquez can lead the expansion side to a historic win.
72.2 – Real Monarchs SLC’s Maikel Chang has recorded a combined 26 goals and assists over the past two seasons on home turf, 72.2 percent of his overall total of 36 goals and assists in that span.
19 – El Paso Locomotive FC has conceded 19 goals in 18 away games across the 2019 regular season and playoffs, the fewest of any side in the Western Conference.
FiveThirtyEight.com Match Predictor: Real Monarchs SLC 69%, El Paso Locomotive FC 31%
Real Monarchs SLC – GK: David Ochoa; D: Erik Holt, Konrad Plewa, Kalen Ryden; M: Noah Powder, Justin Portillo, Luke Mulholland, Tate Schmitt; AM: Jack Blake; F: Maikel Chang, Douglas Martinez
El Paso Locomotive FC – GK: Logan Ketterer; D: Drew Beckie, Chiro N’Toko, Andrew Fox, James Kiffe; M: Omar Salgado, Yuma, Nick Ross, Josue Aaron Gomez; AM: Sebastian Velasquez; F: Jerome Kiesewetter
Real Monarchs SLC – None
El Paso Locomotive FC – None
REF: Rosendo Mendoza
AR1: Tom Felice
AR2: Diego Blas
4TH: Elton Garcia