Arizona United’s Tyler Blackwood, center, drives between Real Monarchs SLC defenders Aug. 27, 2016 at Peoria Sports Complex. Photo credit: ArizonaUnited.com
It was a must-win game for Arizona United to stay in the race for the Western Conference playoffs Saturday night at Peoria Sports Complex.
Apparently Arizona United didn’t get the message.
An early first half goal by Maikon Orellana was just enough for Real Monarchs SLC to defeat Arizona United 1-0 and leapfrog the Monarchs to 10th place in front of Arizona United with five games remaining.
The shutout also ended a run of 17 straight games in which Arizona United recorded a goal.
“Just simple, bad defending,” Arizona United head coach Frank Yallop said. “We weren’t ready from the front to the back. … I just felt the first half we were really passive. You know, (we) weren’t in the game at all. … But you know I gotta say the guys at least they kept going towards the end. We could have got a draw out of it. Just a disappointing result and performance.”
Luke Rooney had the first good chance of the match for Arizona United as a cross into the box found Rooney’s head but Eduardo Fernandez made the save.
And United kept the majority of the play until the Monarchs struck in the 25th minute. Orellana slipped past defender Adam West and was able to slot the ball short-side on goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
“Obviously in the moment the guy slipped in behind the defense and finished it nicely,” Arizona United defender Peter Ramage said. “So we’ll be disappointed by that.”
United lost forward Chris Cortez in the 33rd minute to an injury when he slid awkwardly in the left-hand corner. He got up and tried to walk it off, but fell to the ground seconds later and had to be helped off the field.
“Yeah well if you look at the front four, in all the games that they’ve played together have been very dangerous and dynamic so you know but no excuse,” Yallop said. “We should still be able to create enough chances to get enough attempts on goal.”
United found themselves a man down in the 52nd minute when a challenge by midfielder Christian Silva on Monarchs midfielder Alec Sundly earned him a straight red card, for which Yallop was not happy with the call.
“It wasn’t a second yellow, he gave him a straight red. So for me he basically slipped and you know and he leaves,” Yallop said. “When you slip and your feet go up like that it looks like he’s trying to top him, but he didn’t. No chance. He slipped.”
Despite playing a man down, United kept charging. Tyler Blackwood had an attempt from 30 yards that just missed wide right in the 59th minute. Luke Rooney had a chance in the 71st minute as he tried to shrug off a couple defenders but his shot just went over the bar. Substitute Sam Garza had a chance three minutes later after coming in for West, but his shot went just over the bar.
Woszczynski came up with some big saves late in the match, including two saves in stoppage time to keep United in it, but a last-gasp free kick by Garza into the box was sent out by the Monarchs defense to seal the victory.
The loss drops United to 8-11-6 with 30 points and five games remaining, and Yallop knows what it is going to take the rest of the way.
“Yeah tonight was an important game, Yallop said. “If we lose on Wednesday we’re out. It’d be a miracle to make it, but you know Wednesday’s a game we got to come out here and try and win. Then we got to go to San Antonio we know is just a tough place to go.
“We just go to pick ourselves up and get ready for Wednesday.”