Monarchs earn 2nd win of 2015 over Aztex, former RSL assistant

July 11th, 2015 | by Sean Walker
Ricardo Velazco goes to goal for Real Monarchs during a 3-1 win over the Austin Aztex on July 11, 2015 at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Photo: Rob Gray/Real Media)

Ricardo Velazco goes to goal for Real Monarchs during a 3-1 win over the Austin Aztex on July 11, 2015 at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Photo: Rob Gray/Real Media)

Ricardo Velazco was presented with an ultimatum before Saturday night’s home match with Real Monarchs SLC: score, and don’t go home.

Joking or not, Velazco didn’t want to take a chance, and the midfielder notched a goal and an assist to help the Monarchs earned their second win in franchise history, 3-1 over the Austin Aztex.

Whether in emotional ecstasy or youthful bliss, Velazco did something even more uncharacteristic after his goal by ripping off his shirt and sprinting to the corner flag — earning his fourth yellow card of the year in the process.

“The first thing I did was take off my shirt,” Velazco recalled, after stating it was the one thing he didn’t want to do. “I blanked out, something was going through my mind, and I wasn’t thinking right.

“It was awesome.”

Velazco’s goal gave the Monarchs (2-9-6) their first lead of the match, after teammate Maikon Orellana had tied the game at 1-1 in the 38th minute. Austin (5-9-3) pulled ahead early, after Trevin Caesar pulled down a long ball, juked Lucas Baldin down to the turf, and ripped an unassisted shot past goalkeeper Eric Osswald and into the upper 90 for the game’s opening goal just 28 minutes in.

But Orellana’s equalizer followed by Velazco’s game-winner gave the Monarchs all the confidence they needed, and helped the squad rally for its first win since beating Sacramento Republic FC in the defending USL champion’s first visit to Rio Tinto Stadium.

Ricardo Velazco celebrates a goal for Real Monarchs during their 3-1 win over Austin Aztex on July 11, 2015 at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Photo: Rob Gray/Real Media)

Ricardo Velazco celebrates a goal for Real Monarchs during their 3-1 win over Austin Aztex on July 11, 2015 at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Photo: Rob Gray/Real Media)

“I think it was the goal that pushed us,” Orellana said. “That goal they got kind of made us a little mad; it hit us hard. Before (the game) started, we would do anything to not have them score. It hit us hard, and we just responded.”

Emery Welshman nearly put the home team up 3-1 at halftime after forcing a turnover at the top of the 45th minute. But his short pass couldn’t find the target, and Austin goalkeeper Devin Perales made his only save of the first half to keep the Aztex in the match. The Aztex netminder made two saves on the evening, matching Osswald in that category.

“It feels great; (the win) is the most important thing tonight,” Welshman said. “We have a lot of belief in ourselves, and we have to be the best last-place team in sports history. We’ll take this win, enjoy it, and then focus on Orange County next.”

The win also came in front of a Monarchs franchise-record crowd of 11,003, and Orellana said the crowd and accompanying drum line helped spur his team forward.

“It was crazy,” he added. “At first, I thought there were a little more than we were supposed to get. Then more people started showing up, and I was like … ‘whoa.’ It was crazy when a lot of people showed up. I think the crowd helped a lot.”

Caesar nearly struck again just seven minutes into the second half, but his shot from the edge of the box kissed off the left post and sailed by Osswald.

Coach Freddy Juarez made a double-sub for Real Monarchs in the 66th minute, bringing on Fito Ovalle and Lennon Celestino for Tyler Arnone and Lucas Baldin. The move marked Celestino’s first appearance in four matches since an injury kept him out a few games earlier in the year.

Welshman got his goal in the 70th minute, dribbling straight at the defense before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home an empty-netter to put the Monarchs up 3-1. The Guyanese international used his pace to take on the defense, and didn’t waste any time in putting home his seven goal of the season in only seven appearances with the Salt Lake lower-division side.

“I told myself if I had the opportunity to score again, I’d just go around the keeper and slot it home,” Welshman said. “He did that, and I just put it home.”

Marvin Baumgartner made only his second appearance of the season for Real Monarchs, replacing Welshman with about five minutes left in the match as Juarez looked to shore up his defense and protect the lead — something the Salt Lake side hasn’t had much opportunity to do in 2015.

Second-half sub Eti Tavares went down under defensive pressure after breaking through into the box, but his appeals to the referee went unheard after he was dispossessed of the ball. But by that point the scoreline was cosmetic and the Monarchs earned the full three points for just the second time in its club’s regular-season history.

“Saying it feels good would be an understatement,” Velazco said. “It feels unbelievable; one of the best goals I’ve scored in my life. Everything was clicking today.

“It wasn’t the strongest first half. But we managed to get a result at half, and we knew if we scored one more, the game would be done. That’s what we did.”

(Photo: Rob Gray/Real Media)

(Photo: Rob Gray/Real Media)

Sean Walker

Sean Walker

Salt City FC editor-in-chief Sean Walker has been covering soccer at all levels since 2007. He began his career in Las Vegas, and has since written for publications from the Intermountain West to Central New York, where he attended graduate school in 2012. Currently, Sean covers Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer for KSL.com. A struggling Evertonian by birth, Sean follows European soccer through the blue lens of the Toffees, and has strong feelings toward the UEFA Europa League.

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