Photo courtesy Real Monarchs SLC
HERRIMAN, Utah – Real Monarchs SLC got an early goal by Maikel Chang to earn a 1-0 victory against Fresno FC at Zions Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Real ended its four-game homestand to open its new home with a 3-0-1 record and top spot in the Western Conference standings. The Monarchs took the lead in the eighth minute as a long ball by Kalen Ryden found Sebastian Velasquez, who cut to the right and found Chang for a first-time finish to the right side. The hosts continued to hold the upper hand for most of the first half, and Velasquez sent a lifted finish just wide of the right post as he slipped in behind the Foxes defense just before the break, and Real’s Josh Heard hit the post just past the hour-mark after a cutback from the left side of the penalty area by Velasquez. But while Velasquez almost added a second with 10 minutes to go as his free kick clipped the top of the crossbar, the lone early goal proved enough for a third consecutive victory for the hosts.
8’ – SLC – Maikel Chang (Sebastian Velasquez)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Real Monarchs SLC ensured it would remain on top of the Western Conference at the end of this weekend’s action with a victory that with sharper finishing it could have won by a wider margin, but still marked the end of a strong opening homestand at Zions Bank Stadium. Maikel Chang’s early goal proved the difference as Sebastian Velasquez produced another fine piece of skill before picking up the assist, and with three consecutive wins at their new home the Monarchs are setting up strongly in the defense of their USL Regular Season Championship.
2. The Monarchs had some suspect moments defensively, but center back Kalen Ryden backed up his two-goal performance on Wednesday night with a good display alongside Michael Gallagher as the duo served as the fireman that put out the fires before they turned into greater trouble for the hosts. The biggest key to the Monarchs’ shutout, however, was the way the side held possession against a Foxes side that itself has moved the ball well so far this season. Real simply worked the ball around the field and asked the Foxes to try and take it away, and the visitors were unable to as it had a tackle success rate of 54.2 percent on 24 challenges.
3. Visiting the Monarchs after Wednesday’s midweek game at home was going to be a challenge for the Foxes, but the lack of energy the side produced throughout much of the contest made it an even longer day than it might have been. Fresno recorded only one shot on goal early in the first half, but otherwise was unable to find much joy in the final third as its winless streak reached seven games. With two weeks before a return to league action, there’s plenty for the Foxes to ponder.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Sebastian Velasquez, Real Monarchs SLC – Velasquez produced a fine assist to set up Chang and finished the afternoon with three key passes and seven shots overall while completing 76 of 79 passes.
Real Monarchs SLC at Las Vegas Lights FC – May 19, 11 p.m. ET, Cashman Field
Fresno FC at Orange County SC – May 26, 10 p.m. ET, Champions Soccer Stadium