Photo courtesy Real Monarchs SLC
HERRIMAN, Utah – Juan Mare scored in the first minute of second-half stoppage time to lift Real Monarchs SLC to a 2-1 victory against Orange County SC on Friday night at Zions Bank Stadium, the Monarchs’ first at their new home venue. A second-half substitute, Mare latched onto a through-ball by Maikel Chang into the right side of the penalty area, cut back and then unleashed a powerful shot into the opposite corner of the net. Orange County opened brightly, but the Monarchs took the lead in the seventh minute as Chang scored with a near-post finish on Charlie Adams’ corner kick from the right. Real goalkeeper Connor Sparrow came up with a good save in the 23rd minute on a turning shot by Orange County’s Thomas Enevoldsen, and again two minutes later on a powerful shot by Aodhan Quinn. Real’s Sebastian Velasquez just fired wide of the right post three minutes before halftime, but Orange County was awarded a penalty kick in the final minutes of the half as Christian Duke was brought down in the area and Quinn sent Sparrow the wrong way as he converted from the spot to the left corner. The Monarchs almost regained the lead five minutes after the break only for Chandler Hoffman to head just wide after a good cross by Chang, while Orange County goalkeeper Andre Rawls made a good save to deny the Cuban moments later. Real’s Masta Kacher was next to produce a good save as Rawls tipped his curling finish over the crossbar, but after the hosts were reduced to 10 men with eight minutes to go as Charlie Adams was sent off for his second yellow card Real grabbed a dramatic winner through Mare on a perfect finish from the right side of the penalty area.
7’ – SLC – Maikel Chang (Charlie Adams)
45+1’ – OC – Aodhan Quinn (penalty)
90+1 – SLC – Juan Mare (Maikel Chang)
Three Things That Matter:
1. There was plenty of anticipation going into Friday night’s top-three Western Conference matchup, and after both teams put on strong displays in attack it fell to second-half substitute Juan Mare to produce a massive moment that gave the Monarchs their first victory at Zions Bank Stadium. After the scoreless draw on Monday night in the venue’s grand opening, the second game at the state-of-the-art venue lived up to all the expectations, and also produced a heart-stopping finish.
2. Maikel Chang claimed the honor of the first goal in Zions Bank Stadium’s history with his seventh-minute finish, which also marked the first goal for the Cuban winger for the Monarchs since his offseason arrival on a night where his influence was consistently felt in the attacking third for the hosts. Chang finished the night with four key passes, including the assist on Juan Mare’s dramatic game-winner in stoppage time. Chang has quickly fit into Real’s lineup and should only continue to get better from here.
3. Friday night’s game could have seen more scoring if not for two stellar displays by the Monarchs’ Connor Sparrow and Orange County’s Andre Rawls, who both produced some excellent saves as part of an entertaining outing by both clubs. Rawls – nominated on Thursday for April’s USL Player of the Month award – helped Orange County withstand a strong spell of pressure early in the second half as Real looked to find a higher gear, while Sparrow produced some big first-half saves that included an excellent stop to keep out a fierce shot by Aodhan Quinn, and a crucial late save to deny an Orange County breakaway in the final minute that set up the chance for the hosts to grab their dramatic victory.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Maikel Chang, Real Monarchs SLC – Chang produced the first goal in Zions Bank Stadium and the assist on the late game-winner as the Monarchs grabbed a thrilling first win at their new home.
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Swope Park Rangers – May 9, 9 p.m. ET, Zions Bank Stadium
Orange County SC vs. Saint Louis FC – May 12, 10 p.m. ET, Champions Soccer Stadium