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A Tale of Two Halves: Real Monarchs 3, Orange County Blues 1

Dusan Stefanovic opened his Blues account, but the Monarchs took care of business in Utah.

Courtesy of USL

The Orange County Blues traveled to Salt Lake City looking to get back on track and end a two-game USL winless streak. Unfortunately, the Real Monarchs wouldn’t have it, taking the match at Ute Soccer Field 3-1 on Saturday.

Blues midfielder Dusan Stefanovic scored his first goal of the season, but his first-half strike was cancelled out by three second-half goals by the home side.

It was Orange County who got on the front foot early in the match, frustrating the Monarchs' defense. In the 6th minute, Stefanovic let a cross from the left side bounce once in front of him on the right flank, then launched an impressive volley to the far post, beating Monarchs goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez. The Blues kept pressing forward with a few more shots, but were unable to put anything on target.

Once the clock struck 35 minutes in the first half, the tide of the match turned completely in the opposite direction, as Real Monarchs had three close chances on net, only to be saved by Brandon Miller or just miss the frame. The Blues went into halftime with a 0-1 lead.

The Monarchs’ momentum continued in the second half, as Ricardo Velazco equalized by heading a free kick past Miller in the 50th minute. Just nine minutes later, Velazco sent a corner kick into the box, and the ball deflected off Alec Sundly to put Real ahead 2-1. Velazco recorded his second goal in the 69th minute, after taking advantage of a Blues turnover in midfield, and beat three Blues defenders to create space for himself and slot past Miller, who had come off his line.

It’s a tough result for Orange County, as they started off the match well, only to see the opposition come roaring back. The Blues are now on a three-match winless streak in USL play, four including the U.S. Open Cup loss to LA Wolves. Now at 3-4-2, Orange County’s next chance to right the ship comes next Friday, May 27th, as they travel to face Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.

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