A sell-out crowd of 11,569 witnessed a monumental Republic collapse as the team fell 2-3 to Real Monarchs on Wednesday night. Second-half goals from Mike da Fonte and Danny Barrera were cancelled out by two Monarch strikes in a span of 10 minutes and a Derek Foran own goal in stoppage time. The loss ended Republic’s unbeaten streak in USL play at nine games, one short of the club record.
The Salt Lake City club had the first opportunity of the game in the eighth minute. A foul outside the 18-yard box by Octavio Guzman led to a Monarchs free kick that Emilio Orozco headed wide. Two minutes later, Elder Torres tried his luck with a long-range effort that went above the goal.
Republic responded a minute later when Guzman put Adam Jahn one-on-one with Monarchs goalkeeper Eduardo Fernandez with a lovely chipped pass. The Monarchs goalkeeper came out to clear but whiffed the ball, and allowed Jahn to pounce on it. However, his shot between two defenders sailed across the goal and just wide.
By this point in the game, Republic was firmly in control of the match, yet were unable to finish their chances.
In the 19th minute, Republic captain Danny Barrera sent in a free kick from the right wing to an unmarked Harry Williams, but the young striker's diving header went wide. Barrera's well hit service was the first sign of what would become a tale of two captains.
In the 27th minute, Real Monarchs captain Ricardo Velazco, who was the most lively player for the visitors in the first half, lofted a perfectly weighted ball into the Republic box that was fumbled by Domenic Jakubek. Fortunately for the Republic keeper, center back Mike da Fonte came to the rescue and cleared the ball.
That proved to be the last Monarchs threat in the first half, but Republic continued to have more chances thanks to the influence of Barrera. In the 33rd minute, Cameron Iwasa dribbled up the field and laid a pass back to Barrera, who hit a long-range shot that was well parried by Fernandez.
Just before the closing of the first half, Jahn missed another opportunity to put Republic ahead when he headed wide another Barrera free kick.
The second half began like the first, with Real Monarchs threatening with a 49th minute corner that led to a scramble in the box.
However, despite the visitors getting the first attempt on goal, it was the home team that got on the scoreboard first.
Cameron Iwasa set the stage for the opening goal in the 52nd minute, drawing a foul just outside the visiting 18-yard box on the left wing. Barrera then stepped up to take the ensuing free kick, and just like he did on Saturday against Seattle Sounders 2, Mike da Fonte headed home the captain's service to put the Republic in the lead. It was da Fonte's second goal in as many games.
Five minutes later, the provider turned goal-scorer. Another Barrera free kick, this time below the right corner of the penalty box, led to Republic’s second when it went through the box untouched, past Fernandez, and into the net on the far post.
Republic was fully in the driver's seat at this point and almost got a third goal in the 63rd minute when Barrera sent an incisive through ball down the middle to Williams, but the Prince of Quails was unable to get on the end of it.
However, as has happened repeatedly throughout the season, Republic let their opponent back into the game.
In the 72nd minute, Monarchs captain Velazco received the ball on the left wing and made a run at goal before firing off a beautiful shot amid four Republic players that dipped over the outstretched Jakubek and into the goal.
Sensing the shifting tide, Head Coach Buckle brought on Tommy Thompson for Jahn in the 77th hoping to give his side more control in the midfield. It was in vain, however, as Republic could not stem the visitors’ pressure.
The home side was made to pay the price for sitting back in the 81st minute. With the Republic fully in its own half, Monarchs defender Phanuel Kavita sent a long ball from the halfway line to his captain, who headed down the ball to second-half substitute Kevin Frater. Frater chested down the pass then fired a left-footed volley from the left corner of the penalty box across the goal and into Jakubek’s far post.
Republic tried to respond via Guzman, who fired a long-range effort after a Republic corner kick, but Fernandez was able to make a fingertip save that tipped the ball into the top of the bar and out of play.
As the game entered stoppage time, Real Monarchs found a last-gasp winner off a Derek Foran own goal. Once again it was Velazco, cementing himself as his side’s MVP as he made a run into the box and fired a powerful shot that went off of Foran’s head, catching Jakubek flat-footed as it bounced into the net. And just like that, Republic’s collapse was complete.
The loss leaves Republic in third place in the Western Conference with 28 points. The Indomitable Club will hope to look past this loss as it embarks on a five-game road stretch, beginning with Orange County Blues FC on July 10th.
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