Scott G Winterton,
Members of Real Monarchs and their academy players get warmed up as they stretch prior to practice in Rose Park on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

SANDY — In the first round of the USL playoffs, Real Monarchs SLC will face Sacramento Republic FC on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Monarchs hold the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference after claiming the USL regular-season championship shield for the first time in team history with a record of 20-5-7 and 67 points.

The Monarchs are led by their young coach Mark Briggs. The 34-year-old took over the head coaching job after then-head coach Mike Petke was promoted to coach for Real Salt Lake after the departure of Jeff Cassar.

“I think starting the preseason with Mike (Petke) we put together a plan and the big thing was taking that plan and understanding that it’s the team that matters," Briggs said to RSL.com

Both the Monarchs and Sacramento Republic played each other twice this season, with the Monarchs winning both matches. In the second match between the two, the Monarchs escaped with a 2-0 win on the road. Goals by Juan Ignacio Mare and Chandler Hoffman, and a penalty-kick save by keeper Andrew Putna led to the victory.

With home-field advantage, the Monarchs hold a USL-best 12-1-3 record at home. This will be the Monarchs' first playoff appearance in their three-year history. Friday’s match will be a single-game elimination contest, the winner moving on to face the winner of the Swope Park Ranger-Phoenix Rising FC match on Oct. 28.