Denzel Slager scored his first goal at home in remarkable fashion to lead Orange County Blues FC to a 1-0 victory over Real Monarchs SLC at Anteater Stadium.
Pavle Popara’s initial shot in the 43rd minute was parried by Monarchs goalkeeper Eric Osswald right to the feet of Denzel Slager, who volleyed an unstoppable shot into the back of the net for the game’s only goal.
Slager made an impact from the opening whistle, getting a ball on the right and charging up on the right, and fired a ball into the side netting on the very first play of the game. The Blues had several chances in the first half, with close efforts coming from Didier Crettenand and Chris Cortez. Slager’s 43rd minute goal motivated the Blues to finish out the half strong.
The second half saw more attacking action from the Monarchs, with 13 of their 15 total shots coming after the break. Pepe Miranda made eight saves on the night to seal his fifth shutout of the season.
OC moves to 8-8-3 on the season, with 27 points, putting them back into 6th place, the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Real Monarchs SLC falls to 2-10-6 on the season, with 12 points.
These two squads face each other again in one week at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PT.