Rising players and supporters hoped a change of scenery would lead to a different result. However, Real Monarchs controlled today’s USL match from start to finish, in a tidy 2-0 win.
Rising Starting XI- Cohen, Stewart, Greer, Ramage, Gray, Wright-Phillips, Vasquez, Watson, Hernandez, Johnson, Bravo.
Monarchs Starting XI- Fernandez, Curinga, Lachowecki, Orozco, Moberg, Besler, Brody, Adams, Velazquez, Minter, Hoffman.
Game Recap: From the opening whistle, Real Monarchs looked like the better, more cohesive side. In the first 20 minutes, Real enjoyed 60% possession but were unable to test Rising keeper Josh Cohen. Real finally challenged Cohen in the 29th minute, when Charlie Adams set up Chase Minter with an excellent pass. Minter tried to slide the ball into the bottom left corner, but Cohen made a sharp save.
Phoenix started coming into the game as the first half progressed, and Peter Ramage didn’t miss the target by much on a header. The game still needed a spark, and that was provided in the 43rd minute by the Monarchs’ Sebastian Velazquez and Cohen. Velazquez fired a goal-bound rocket from more than 20 yards out, but Cohen made a stunning, diving save to punch the ball away.
The Rising appeared set to get to halftime tied, but Real had other ideas. A great pass from Real found Minter one-on-one with AJ Gray, and Gray conceded a stonewall penalty when Minter cut the ball inside. Off-season addition Chandler Hoffman scored his first goal for Real as the first half ended.
Phoenix needed to rally, but Real continued to control possession. In the 59th minute, the Rising finally had an excellent scoring chance when Wright-Phillips put Blair Gavin through on goal with a great pass. Unfortunately, Gavin rolled the ball straight at SLC keeper Lalo Fernandez. The Rising started to create some nervy moments for the Real defense, but could not create a clear-cut scoring chance.
In the 77th minute, Real finished off its win with a tidy goal from Omar Holness. Andrew Brody found space in the Rising box, and slid the ball across for Holness to coolly finish at the right post. Alessandro Riggi was subbed on for Vasquez after the goal, but even he could not provide a spark for the Rising. The game finished 2-0 to Real Monarchs.
Positive Takeaways: Josh Cohen single-handedly kept the Rising afloat in the first half, Vasquez started strong, and Bravo was active.
Negative Takeaways: Where do we start? Jordan Stewart looked bad in his first start, the defense again looked vulnerable on the wings, A.J. Gray conceded a poor penalty, the midfield still gave away possession too easily, etc.
Conclusion: The growing pains continue for Frank Yallop, and Phoenix Rising. This was always going to be a difficult away match against a Real team that looks determined to make the playoffs. However, the Rising must play with more energy and unity if it expects a result against LA Galaxy II next Saturday night.