AUSTIN, Texas – Juan Pablo Torres scored an early goal and Elliot Panicco recorded a USL Championship-leading sixth shutout of the season as Austin Bold FC took a 1-0 victory against Real Monarchs SLC on Sunday night at Bold Stadium to move back into the playoff positions in the Mountain Division.
The hosts got out to a positive start and could have taken the lead in the ninth minute as Nick Hinds delivered a cross from the left that just eluded Stefano Pinho as he tried to head home at the near post before coming to Sean Okoli, who mistimed a first-time finish to send his shot off target. Three minutes later, though, Austin hit the front as Alasanne Ates Diouf rolled a pass to his right for Torres, who rifled a shot from 25 yards into the left corner of the net.
The Monarchs’ first real look on goal didn’t arrive until the 19th minute when Bret Halsey delivered a cross from the right that Aris Briggs turned wide of the near post. A couple of minutes later the visitors went closer as Milan Iloski fired a low free kick from 25 yards that was spilled by Panicco, but Briggs was unable to get his rebound chance past the goalkeeper as he recovered to save.
Austin went close to doubling its lead five minutes before halftime as Omar Gordon fired just wide of the right post from the top-left edge of the penalty area. The hosts went close again nine minutes into the second half as Pinho intercepted a pass on the right and broke forward before sending a curling left-footed finish to the far corner from the right side of the penalty area that forced a diving save by Monarchs goalkeeper Jeff Dewsnupp.
Bold FC went closer in the 65th minute as off a free kick from the left by Xavier Baez to the top of the six-yard area, Sean Okoli’s flicked header went off the crossbar. The rebound came to Fabien Garcia, who fired his first-time finish into the turf making it hop up on target, but Dewsnupp got his fingertips to the effort to send it over the crossbar.
Dewsnupp came up big again with 12 minutes to go as Pinho controlled cleverly on his chest off a long free kick upfield before moving to his left, creating space for a shot to the top-left corner that the Monarchs’ goalkeeper turned wide. While the Monarchs pushed late for an equalizer, though, the hosts were solid defensively as Panicco and his back line closed out the win.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Juan Pablo Torres, Austin Bold FC – Torres produced an outstanding strike to give the hosts an early lead and was outstanding in possession in midfield, completing 44 of 46 passes while making seven recoveries defensively.
ATX – Juan Pablo Torres (Alasanne Ates Diouf) 12’