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Know Your Opponent: Real Monarchs

By Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, 05/29/18, 8:00AM PDT

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Ahead of Tuesday's match, get to know the Monarchs.


Courtesy Real Monarchs

Republic FC will look to hand first-place Real Monarchs SLC just their second loss in six games when they travel to Zions Bank Stadium Tuesday evening for a 6:00 p.m. matchup with the Western Conference leader.

Before the match, get to know Republic opponent, Real Monarchs SLC.

HEAD COACH

After Mike Petke’s move to RSL’s first team, former assistant, Mark Briggs saw himself promoted to the head coaching position for Real Monarchs SLC. The English former footballer joined Real Monarchs in 2016.

Briggs enjoyed a 15-year playing career, kicking off his playing days with West Bromwich Albion in England before moving to Danish Soccer. The midfielder spent two years in Denmark and moved back to England, following his signing for Notts County. He played for several lower division teams throughout England and Wales before moving to the U.S. in May of 2008, where he made his playing debut in the USL Premier Development League with the Kalamazoo Outrage. He led the team to the PDL finals in the same and before helping the Wilmington Hammerheads to a regular-season championship finish in 2009. Briggs jumped between teams and on short loan stints before wrapping his playing career with Wilmington in 2013.

The former midfielder transitioned to the coaching side with the Hammerheads in 2015, taking an assistant coaching position before being promoted to head coach during the same season. Briggs moved to RSL in 2016 and has acted as head coach since the 2017 season.

KEY PLAYERS

Kaylen Ryden has led Real Monarchs this season in scoring, converting four of seven shots on goal. Drafted sixty-ninth overall by Columbus Crew in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Ryden has spent nearly all of his professional career with USL sides over the past four seasons. A 6-foot-2 left back, Ryden has not only led his team in scoring this season but has been a strong contributor off the back line. Ryden has collected 37 clearances, 25 interceptions, and 47 aeriel duels thus far, good for team bests in each category.

A native of Havana, Cuba, Maikel Chang comes to Real Monarchs after playing the last four seasons for Charleston Battery. A 5-foot-10 midfielder, Chang has been known to show up both as a playmaker and a proven goal scorer. With four assists this season, Chang has placed himself tied for third in the USL in assists while scoring twice.

Justin Portillo joins teammate Chang for a USL third-best mark in assists with four as well. Portillo spent the last two seasons with Chang as a part of the Charleston Battery squad, earning USL All-League Second Team honors for his season performance in 33 matches, all of which came as starts. The New Orleans native scored four times and notched six assists last year while co-leading his team in minutes (2970). Portillo has been the most accurate distributor for Real Monarchs this season, connecting for 647 passes at an 88.9 percent accuracy mark. He also leads Real Monarchs with 29 chances created in 2018.

HOME PITCH

After making their home at Rio Tinto Stadium for their first three seasons, Real Monarchs RSL has moved to Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. A soccer-specific stadium with seating for 5,000 fans, Real Monarchs share Zions Bank Stadium with the Utah Warriors—a Major League Rugby team.

2018 SEASON So Far

With a record of 8-2-1 this season, Real Monarchs have cruised to the top of the Western Conference standings. SLC kicked off their season with four-straight wins—three of which came on the road—before taking their first loss to Tampa Bay Rowdies on April 21. They then collected points in five-straight matches, playing to a scoreless draw with Las Vegas Lights FC before winning their next four in a row. Real Monarchs suffered just their second loss of the season at Providence Park on Saturday, when they were shut out 1-0 by Portland Timbers 2.

Tuesday’s MATCH

Tuesday’s match between Republic FC and Real Monarchs SLC will kick off at 6:00 p.m. at Zions Bank Stadium.

Updates will be provided via Twitter at @SacRepublicFC or using #SLCvSAC.

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