The Orange County Blues take to the road this weekend, as they are in Utah to take on Real Monarchs SLC for the teams' first meeting of the season.
Both teams are coming off a 1-1 draw last week, for OC a rather-unlucky tie at home against Arizona United, and for the Monarchs a 1-1 road draw vs. Rio Grande Valley FC.
The Blues won both games last year between the sides, the only two games they've played to date. At that point, Real Monarchs were a first-year MLS2 team that was adrift at the bottom of the Western Conference, looking like development was certainly trumping results.
But in the final weeks of the season, they started to play better overall as a team and started grabbing results, too. And coming into this season, they started out with two wins and a draw and looking like a vastly improved side.
In recent weeks, the results have tapered off again, as they have just two points in their last five games, but make no mistake -- this Monarchs team cannot be taken lightly.
For OC, one expects their style of game means a goals explosion is unlikely, but the earlier they can take a lead, the better for their chances of getting a win. This team is not afraid to play with a narrow lead, and while they are still working out some of the gameflow aspects and getting the ball in the net more regularly, they can squeeze the life out of the game if they're up. They just need to grab that lead in order to carry out the plan.
Tale of the Tape:
OC Blues: 11 points (3-3-2), 7th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: -3 (6/9); Last five games: D-L-W-W-W
Real Monarchs: 9 points (2-3-3), 11th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: -2 (7/9); Last five games: D-L-D-L-L
How to Watch Real Monarchs vs. OC Blues: The game will kick off a 6 pm PT at Ute Stadium at the University of Utah. You can watch the stream below or at USL's matchcenter.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!