Carlos Small and Michael Salazar scored for the Toros in the team’s 5-3 loss in Utah
Photo Credit: Real Monarchs
Herriman, UT – RGVFC lost their third straight game on the road, this time against the Real Monarchs in a high intensity match between both teams.
There were many changes to the Toros roster for tonight’s match, including the forced inclusion of Nico Lemoine for Maalique Foster who will be playing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup with Jamaica.
However, the most surprising decision was the inclusion of Sergio Mena for Robert Coronado in the left back position, a decision that not many people expected.
However, with the close proximity of the Houston Dynamo‘s debut in the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, and their tendency to call upon key Toros players for these matches against lower league teams, it should not have been a surprise to have seen both Robert Coronado and Kyle Adams on the bench tonight.
The first half of the match was a complete nightmare for the Toros, as Real Monarchs took an early lead in the 14th minute. Ricardo Avila sends a long pass from the midfield line that finds an unmarked Douglas Martinez, who sneaked behind Robert Castellanos’s back. Martinez controls the ball with his chest and chips the ball over Michael Nelson.
Then in the 21st minute, Real Monarchs score their second goal of the game, this time off of a corner.
Douglas Martinez outjumps his defender to connect with the cross, and the ball lands to Josh Heard right in front of the goal line, who redirects the shot into the far post, impossible for Michael Nelson to save.
The nightmare was far from over. Just a little over a minute after the second, Real Monarchs scored their third goal of the night. Maikel Chang sends a driven shot from outside the box, that gets past Michael Nelson and enters right next to the near post.
With the defense suffering like they were, Coach Gerson Echeverry knew that he had to make a personnel change and subs in Robert Coronado at the 38th minute.
RGVFC looked more composed with the inclusion of Robert Coronado, especially in the second half where the Toros seemed to have the momentum in their favor.
Coronado‘s influence in the game became reflected on the scoreline in the 60th minute. He sends a cross over to Michael Salazar who heads the ball into the net to give RGVFC their first goal of the night.
With this goal, Michael Salazar scores his 8th goal this season for the Toros, breaking the record for most goals in a season for RGVFC previously set by Kyle Murphy and Ruben Luna.
However, Real Monarchs capitalized on a transition mistake in the midfield to score their fourth goal of the night, hoping to kill the hopes of a comeback for RGVFC.
Maikel Chang dribbles the ball outside the box, cuts back inside and sends a through ball to Douglas Martinez. Martinez takes a first time shot that curls past Michael Nelson. The entire backline were expecting an offside call, but the linesman did not agree.
Gerson Echeverry knew he had to take risk to try to salvage a point, so he brought in Carlos Small to replace Wilmer Cabrera Jr.
The Panamanian striker brought a breath of fresh air for the Toros offense, who were looking for the miracle.
In the 80th minute, Carlos Small finds Michael Salazar inside the 8 yard line after a cross by Romilio Hernandez, but Salazar‘s goal was called back for offsides.
However, in the 83rd minute, Carlos Small scored his first goal of the game after a great cross by Isidro Martinez from a free kick. Small connects with the ball inside the 8 yard line and his shot was impossible for Andrew Putna to save.
In the 88th minute, Noah Powder scores an incredible free kick to give Real Monarchs their fifth goal of the night.
At the death, Carlos Small scores his brace of the night in a spectacular volley for the final score of 5-3.
RGVFC return to play at home next week against Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
However, tonight’s match raised many questions as the Dynamo begin their quest to defend the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup against the Austin Bold on Tuesday.
How many players will the Dynamo call up to the first team on a short term loan?
How many of those players will have to be rested next week against the Switchbacks?
Will their backups be able to successfully replace these very important members of the RGVFC lineup?
In a very competitive Western Conference, the Toros do not have the luxury to drop points in their quest to return to the USL playoffs to help out the Houston Dynamo in their tournaments.
However, this is where our substitutes and reserves need to step up to the plate and prove to Coach Gerson Echeverry and the Dynamo that they deserve to fight for the top spot.