Monarchs play RSL-AZ U-18s to 2-2 draw in mid-afternoon friendly

June 10th, 2015 | by Sean Walker

It was an off-week for Real Salt Lake, and a road-game week for the USL affiliate Real Monarchs, but the lower-division side still played a home game at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The Monarchs welcomed the RSL-Arizona U-18 Academy squad to the Wasatch Front of a mid-week friendly, giving soccer fans in Utah a chance to see one of the top developmental academy teams in the nation up close.

The older, more physical Monarchs took a 2-2 draw against the up-and-coming youths in the academy system, but the match wasn’t really about the scoresheet.

The Academy jumped onto the board first, as Edgar Duran scored on a shot from distance that clanged into the back of the  net off the top of the post and past the outstretched arms of Monarchs goalkeeper Eric Osswald for the opening goal of the match just 20 minutes in.

Alec Sundly equalized for the Monarchs at the half-hour mark, collecting a through-ball from fullback Riley McGovern and sending it through to the back of the net for the USL side’s first goal to pull both team’s level.

The Monarchs overhauled their lineup for the second half, including inserting three trialists and third-string goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez into the game, along with regulars Fito Ovalle, Eti Tavares, Garrett Losee and Jordan Murrell.

Murrell scored a goal from a free kick just outside the right edge of the box, giving the Monarchs a 2-1 lead about 14 minutes into the second half. The former Syracuse standout took advantage of Tavares’ foul earned in a dangerous position on the field, and stroked the ball over the wall and into the back of the net to give the USL side their first lead of the match.

Losee nearly found the scoresheet 30 minutes after coming on, but his shot from inside the box was parried away by the the academy ‘keeper.

Duran stripped Rodriguez of the ball less than three minutes later, then curved his shot into the back of the net for his second of the match and the game-tying goal in the 79th minute.

Danilo Acosta, who has played up with the Monarchs a few times, kept the Academy’s back line from conceding late as the Monarchs pushed for the winner before the match ended in a draw during a game where Duran and Acosta impressed, and Monarchs coach Freddy Juarez rolled out several trialists with hopes of earning a contract with RSL’s third-division affiliate.

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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