Photo courtesy Real Monarchs SLC
SANDY, Utah – Real Monarchs SLC rallied from an early deficit to take a 2-1 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC on Friday night at Rio Tinto Stadium as Chandler Hoffman recorded assists on both goals for the hosts. The Toros took the lead in just the fifth minute as a loose piece of play in their own half was quickly sent to Kyle Murphy, who fired his shot into the top-right corner of the net. The Monarchs got on the front foot again quickly, though, and leveled in the 18th minute when Daniel Haber curled home an excellent finish from 20 yards into the top-right corner. Real’s Karsten Hanlin forced a low save by RGVFC goalkeeper Borja Angoitia a minute later, while Hoffman had a close-range chance off a good piece of play by Andrew Brody squeezed out of play. Hoffman provided his second assist on the night in the final minute before halftime, however, as a give-and-go at the top of the penalty area set up Sebastian Velasquez into the left corner of the net. The Toros had the first good chance of the second half, but Jose Escalante’s counterattack opportunity was saved by Real goalkeeper Connor Sparrow in the 61st minute. Both Hoffman, whose shot was well saved, and second-half substitute Chase Minter, whose shot curled just wide of the right post, went close to adding to the Monarchs’ lead in the final 20 minutes. But while the hosts had additional late chances to put the game away, Real held firm defensively to take its 11th home win of the season.
5’ – RGV – Kyle Murphy (Eric Bird)
18’ – SLC – Daniel Haber (Chandler Hoffman)
45’ – SLC – Sebastian Velasquez (Chandler Hoffman)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Real Monarchs SLC moved itself into range of a place in the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs, and was left to wait to see if Orange County SC would take victory later in the night to officially book its place in the postseason. After an early concession, the Monarchs took control on home turf and produced two excellent goals to pick up an 11th victory in 12 home games this season. With their 10-point lead restored at the top of the Western Conference, Real continued to roll with another impressive display.
2. Daniel Haber has been hot for the Monarchs of late, and notched his second spectacular goal in as many games to get Real level in the 18th minute. The Canadian winger’s eye for goal has helped the Monarchs’ push the most goals in the USL this season with five tallies now this season. Haber sits behind the other two key players to the Monarchs’ attack not only this season, but also on Friday night, as Chandler Hoffman notched a pair of assists, and Sebastian Velasquez provided what proved the game-winner. Velasquez’s goal also marked his first since May 20 against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, with the attacking midfielder’s recovery from injury now looking complete.
3. The Toros got a great opening goal by Kyle Murphy, and were efficient in challenging Monarchs goalkeeper Connor Sparrow when they got the chance to go forward. The problem for RGVFC was those chances were few and far between, as the Monarchs held the majority of possession, and defended well when the visitors threatened. With the Toros now on a three-game winless streak, their playoff hopes are in danger of falling by the wayside.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Chandler Hoffman, Real Monarchs SLC – Hoffman notched a pair of assists in addition to providing regular threats himself to score as Real rallied to take season sweep of the Toros.
Real Monarchs SLC vs. San Antonio FC – September 2, 9 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium
Rio Grande Valley FC vs. Portland Timbers 2 – August 30, 8 p.m. ET, H-E-B Park