TACOMA, Wash. – Samuel Adeniran scored a late goal as Tacoma Defiance earned a 1-1 draw with Real Monarchs SLC on Wednesday night at Cheney Stadium, cancelling out an outstanding early strike by Malik Johnson for the visitors.
Looking to snap a two-game losing streak, the Monarchs got out to an ideal start as Johnson opened the scoring in the eighth minute. The young Canadian gained possession on the left side and cut centrally before unleashing a shot from 30 yards that flew off the fingertips of Tacoma goalkeeper Christian Herrera and into the top-left corner of the net.
Tacoma almost answered immediately as Alec Diaz ran onto an errant back pass by Real’s Jaziel Orozco, but under pressure from the recovering defender the Puerto Rico international shot wide of the left post. Ray Serrano also went close for the hosts in the 26th minute as he headed a cross from the left by Juan Alvarez just over the crossbar, and six minutes later had a shot denied by Monarchs goalkeeper Andrew Putna as the hosts looked for an equalizer.
The Monarchs almost doubled their lead three minutes before halftime as Trinidad & Tobago international Noah Powder shot from distance and saw his shot tipped over the crossbar by Herrera. Real’s Milan Iloski also went close seven minutes into the second half with a shot that just went high from the top of the penalty area, and then forced a good save from Herrera with 25 minutes to go with a free kick from 25 yards out that bent toward the left corner of the net.
The Defiance were limited in their chances in the second half, but almost found an equalizer with 10 minutes to go when a cross by Serrano from the right found Adeniran in space in the left side of the penalty area for a volleyed finish that bounced wide of the right post. Then with five minutes to go Putna made an outstanding save to deny a header by Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez toward the left corner of the net to keep the visitors ahead, in the process colliding with the post that saw him require attention.
The hosts found an equalizer seconds into second-half stoppage time, however, as Adeniran took a short pass from Taylor Mueller 25 yards from goal and picked out a low shot to the left corner of the net that just got past the dive of Putna. That proved to be enough to deny the Monarchs victory and get Tacoma a point in its return home.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Noah Powder, Real Monarchs SLC – Powder put in a strong all-around performance, winning 8 of 11 tackles and 13 of 20 duels as well as completing 29 of 35 passes to help the visitors earn a point.
SLC – Malik Johnson 8’
TAC – Sam Adeniran (Taylor Mueller) 90+1’