USLSoccer.com Staff Report
Friday, February 19, 2016
Real Monarchs SLC completed its trip to Costa Rica on Thursday as Freddy Juarez’s side earned a 1-1 draw with defending Costa Rica First Division champions Saprissa at the Costa Rica National Team’s Training Facility. Darion Copeland scored a go-ahead goal in the second half for the Monarchs, who went 1-1-1 on their trip to the Caribbean.
The Monarchs forced an early corner through Andrew Brody after a good piece of build-up from the back, but it was the hosts who held the upper hand for most of the early going. Real’s Kevaughn Frater made an important clearance from a corner kick to keep the game scoreless, while Tyler Arnone made a key block to deny another scoring chance.
The Monarchs had some chances, as Ricardo Velazco had a shot saved on a long-range free kick, and Frater maneuvered some space at the edge of the penalty area, only to scuff his shot. Monarchs goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez had to be alert later in the half, though, as he came quickly off his line to force a poor finish from a Saprissa forward.
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Real had a big opportunity at the start of the second half as Brody teed up a shot for Colin Rolfe, but his finish went over the crossbar. The Monarchs took the lead a few minutes later, however, as Copeland headed home powerfully to make it 1-0.
The Monarchs almost added to their lead soon after as a good piece of interplay between Alec Sundly and Velazco allowed the 2014 PDL Young Player of the Year to thread a cross through the penalty area, but Frater was unable to get on the end of the delivery as it was cleared behind for a corner.Saprissa pulled level just before the hour-mark as a forward was able to dribble past the Monarchs defense and finish past second-half substitute Eric Osswald. The Monarchs had a late chance to grab victory, but Frater’s turning finish went over the crossbar as the game ended level.