Photo courtesy David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC
RENO, Nev. – Real Monarchs SLC pulled away for a 3-0 victory against Reno 1868 FC on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 6,598 at Greater Nevada Field as both Chandler Hoffman and Juan Mare scored their second goals in as many games to move one win away from the USL Regular Season Championship. Reno almost scrambled home an early goal, only for the Monarchs to clear, but 1868 FC was given a golden chance to take the lead in the 24th minute when Real’s Taylor Peay was called for a handball in the penalty area. Antoine Hoppenot stepped up for Reno, but Monarchs goalkeeper Andrew Putna made a big diving save, and Hoppenot then headed the rebound against the crossbar before Chris Wehan put the second rebound wide. Both teams threatened late in the first half, but the Monarchs then took the lead just two minutes after the break as Charlie Adams found space on the left, and his cross got to Chandler Hoffman at the back post for a diving header and his 16th goal of the season. Real’s Juan Mare almost doubled his side’s lead in the 73rd minute with a low shot to the left corner that was saved by 1868 FC goalkeeper Matt Bersano. Reno tried to get back on the front foot to earn an equalizer, and Hoppenot twice missed the target on good chances with 15 minutes to to, first with a header from the top of the six-yard area that went high and then with a curling show wide of the right post. The Monarchs also had a great chance to put the game away as a corner kick by Adams from the right found Nick Besler, only for his header to flash just wide, but Mare and Daniel Haber struck added a pair of goals in the 87th and 90th minutes to cap the win and earn the Monachs their third win against Reno this season.
47’ – SLC – Chandler Hoffman (Charlie Adams)
87’ – SLC – Juan Mare (Daniel Haber)
90’ – SLC – Daniel Haber (Juan Mare)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Monarchs not only clinched a first home playoff game in club history, but also moved into range to claim the USL Regular Season Championship as it put together a solid road performance that was highlighted by some clinical second-half finishing at Greater Nevada Field. Denied from clinching the silverware on Saturday night by San Antonio FC’s victory earlier in the evening, the Monarchs will now get to try and do so on home turf against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 next Saturday night, where a win would earn a championship and the No. 1 overall seed in the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs.
2. Real Monarchs SLC has conceded eight penalty kicks this season. Since Aaron King’s goal from the penalty spot on April 22 for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, however, the remaining seven have failed to find the net. That streak continued on Saturday night in extraordinary fashion as Monarchs goalkeeper Andrew Putna made his second penalty kick save in as many games to deny Antoine Hoppenot, as the ensuing scramble saw Reno conspire to fail to convert two rebounds. Putna had only one start, in the opening game of the season, prior to Wednesday, and while he’s had some nervous moments, he’s also picked up where Connor Sparrow left off in the Real net.
3. For Reno, it was simply one of those nights in front of goal, the sort they haven’t experienced much in setting the USL single-season record for goals. The hosts recorded 14 shots on the night, but uncharacteristically were imprecise with their finishing as they finished with only four efforts on target including the remarkable penalty kick save from Putna on Hoppenot that made such a difference in the game. Reno will look to rebound next Saturday night when it visits Orange County SC as it looks to shake off a disappointing night that saw its USL Regular Season Championship hopes slip away.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Taylor Peay, Real Monarchs SLC – Peay rebounded from conceding an unlucky penalty kick to put in a stellar display, recording 10 clearances, four interceptions and three tackles in the Monarchs’ shutout.
Reno 1868 FC at Orange County SC – October 7, 10:30 p.m. ET, Champions Soccer Stadium
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – October 7, 9 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium