Welcome to the Classic Championship Game of the Day, where today we revisit a big late-season Western Conference clash from the 2017 regular season that saw second-place Reno 1868 FC play host to first-place Real Monarchs SLC at Greater Nevada Field.
1868 FC had put together a tremendous inaugural season, earning a place in the playoffs behind a marauding attack that set a then-Championship record for goals in the regular season. The group led by Dane Kelly – who earned the Golden Boot with 18 goals – and fellow standouts Antoine Hoppenot and rookie Chris Wehan had put together a six-game winning streak to push up the standings in the second half of the season, but sitting five points behind the Monarchs knew that if it wanted to claim the regular season title it would need to add another win with three games to go in the campaign.
The Monarchs, meanwhile, had built up an impressive lead at the top of the Western Conference early in the season thanks to a nine-game winning streak that at the time set a Championship record. Real had undergone a major makeover the previous offseason with the introductions of veterans like Chandler Hoffman and Sebastian Velasquez to its ranks, giving the side a far more competitive edge than in its first two seasons. Having broken a four-game winless streak in midweek against Sacramento Republic FC, the Monarchs were looking to take another step toward their first silverware in club history.
The scene is set, so sit back, relax and enjoy a classic clash from the Championship’s history.