HERRIMAN, Utah – Milan Iloski scored the game-winner with a minute to go to send a nine-man Real Monarchs SLC side to a 4-3 victory against Austin Bold FC – which ended with 10 men – in a wild encounter at Zions Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon that saw Austin rally from a three-goal deficit before giving up a late winner despite its man advantage.
A game after handing Axel Kei his debut to make him the youngest player in the Championship’s history, the Monarchs made more history in handing a debut to goalkeeper Fernando Delgado, who at 15 years, 2 months, 22 days old became the youngest goalkeeper in league history, and the fifth-youngest player overall. The Mexico U-17 international was called into action first in the 10th minute as Austin created the first good look on goal of the game and he made a low save to keep out a shot by Collin Fernandez from the left side of the penalty area.
The Monarch then began to get into the game as in the 14th minute, Iloski curled a free kick from beyond the top-left edge of the penalty area toward the top-left corner of the net. Austin goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux got across to palm the shot into the air before the ball caromed back into play off the top of the crossbar where a Bold FC defender was able to clear.
Iloski went close on another set piece four minutes later as his shot went just wide of the left post from 30 yards, but in the 27th minute the hosts took the lead as 17-year-old Leo Torres opened his professional debut. The San Antonio FC loanee gained possession in the right channel after a turnover by the visitors and cut centrally onto his left foot before blistering a left-footed shot into the top-right corner of the net.
Torres’ second arrive eight minutes later, and in similar fashion. After a crossfield ball upfield found Bode Davis on the right side, he passed inside to Torres near the semicircle at the top of the penalty area and the youngster stepped into another left-footed shot that picked out the bottom-right corner of the net. Davis then added a goal of his own six minutes into the second half to make it a three-goal lead for the hosts as he volleyed home a cross from the left by Malik Johnson sharply into the top-right corner of the net.
Bold FC quickly hit back to cut the deficit to two in the 54th minute as a corner from the right by Fernandez caromed into the center of the penalty area where Gilbert Fuentes was on hand to snap home a first-time finish into the right corner of the net. The visitors almost added another six minutes later when Jorge Troncoso got in behind the defense in the right channel and played a pass across the face of goal for Omar Gordon, but the Jamaican’s shot hit the left post and caromed away to safety.
Beto Avila threatened for the visitors in the 67th minute as he lifted a finish over Delgado from just outside the penalty area as the goalkeeper challenged a bouncing through-ball only to see his effort loop just over the crossbar as well, but a minute later Bold FC made it a one-goal game as Gordon controlled in the penalty area with his back to goal and laid off a pass to Fernandez for a first-time shot to the left corner.
Gordon hit the woodwork for a second time with 20 minutes to go as Austin’s rally continued with a flicked header off an angled cross by Fernandez from the left that clipped the crossbar and went behind for a goal kick. The Jamaican’s bad fortune in front of goal continued six minutes later as he brought down a long pass forward by Juan Pablo Torres beautifully with his chest but sent his finish off the crossbar, making Gordon the first player to hit the woodwork three times in one game this season, and only the third time in the Championship since the start of the 2017 season.
The Monarchs were reduced to 10 men with six minutes to go as Davis was shown his second yellow card of the game, and from the ensuing free kick Bold FC leveled as Fernandez’s free kick from beyond the top-left edge of the penalty area curled around the wall and hit the left post, only for Amobi Okugo to be on hand to put away the rebound. As the visitors tried to grab the ball out of the net to chase a fourth goal and victory, an altercation broke out between players from both sides that saw Delgado sent off from the Monarchs and Jorge Troncoso from Austin, making it 10-on-9 in favor of the visitors.
That didn’t matter in the 89th minute, though, as after a long-range shot by Austin was blocked outside the penalty area, the ball caromed into the path of Brett Halsey, who led a 2-on-0 counterattack toward the other end. Halsey drove forward and after drawing Fauroux off his line played a pass to his left for Iloski to finish into the open net and restore Real’s lead.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Leo Torres, Real Monarchs SLC – The 17-year-old scored his first two professional goals and had three shots overall in a bright hour-long performance that helped break the Monarchs’ recent scoring struggles.
SLC – Leo Torres 27’
SLC – Leo Torres (Bode Davis) 35’
SLC – Bode Davis (Malik Johnson) 51’
ATX – Gilbert Fuentes (Casey Wells) 54’
ATX – Collin Fernandes (Omar Gordon) 68’
ATX – Amobi Okugo 85’
SLC – Milan Iloski (Bret Halsey) 89’