The match marked the first time the Pride hit the road to play the 2018 expansion side after previously playing to a 1-1 tie in the season opener at Orlando City Stadium.
“It’s great to get another clean sheet and a point but I think our performance left a lot to be desired. Those were the positives,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “I thought we played probably as poorly tonight as we’ve played this season. To do that and come away with a point is positive.”
Both Sermanni and Royals Head Coach Laura Harvey rolled out the same starting XIs from their previous matches, as both sides entered the match off wins.
Forward Sydney Leroux had the first chance of the match for the Pride 22 minutes in, collecting a long ball from Marta but her right-footed strike from outside of the box whistled wide right.
After both sides entered the locker room, the second half saw an increase in chances on both sides of the pitch. In the 53rd minute, Emily van Egmond broke out on a 3-on-2 with Leroux and Chioma Ubogagu on either side. The Aussie fed team leading goalscorer Ubogagu, but her shot sailed high of the bar. Shortly after the attempt Alex Morgan, who missed last week’s win at Chicago due to injury, replaced Ubogagu.
Nearly 20 minutes later, second-half substitute Rachel Hill looked to put the Pride on top. Started on a long ball from Monica, Morgan flicked it on with a header to Hill in stride. On a 2-on-1 with Leroux streaking down the left side, Hill elected to take the shot but didn’t get enough power behind it and it was covered by Abby Smith.
Holding the hosts to just one shot on goal in the game, the Pride defense came up big in the 90th minute to preserve the shutout. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris first shut the door on Brittany Ratcliffe, parrying away her powerful shot. On the rebound, Monica and Ali Krieger combined for a critical series of deflections, sending Katie Stengel’s follow-up out for a corner.
Orlando closes out the three-game road swing on Saturday afternoon at Portland Thorns FC. It will be the second time the Pride play the Thorns in Portland in under a month, with kickoff slated for 3:30 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Utah Royals FC vs. Orlando Pride
Date: May 9, 2018
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
Goals 1 2 F
Orlando (2-2-3) 0 0 0
Utah (1-1-5) 0 0 0
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris ©; Ali Krieger, Monica, Shelina Zadorsky, Toni Pressley; Emily van Egmond (Rachel Hill 70’), Alanna Kennedy, Dani Weatherholt; Sydney Leroux, Marta (Christine Nairn 86’), Chioma Ubogagu (Alex Morgan 53’)
Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer; Poliana, Toni Pressley; Kristen Edmonds
Utah Royals FC: Abby Smith; Brooke Elby, Rachel Corsie, Becky Sauerbrunn ©, Becca Moros; Desiree Scott, Katrina Gorry, Gunny Jonsdottir; Diana Matheson (Brittany Ratcliffe 84’), Amy Rodriguez (Katie Stengel 76’), Kelley O’Hara (Erika Tymrak 90+1’)
Substitutes Not Used: Nicole Barnhart; Sidney Miramontez, Katie Bowen; Lo LaBonta
Stats Summary: UTA / ORL
Possession: 56.6 / 43.4
Shots: 13 / 4
Shots on Goal: 1 / 2
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 19
Offside: 1 / 2
UTA: Katrina Gorry (Yellow Card) 86’
Referee: Michael Radchuk
Assistant Referee 1: John Krill
Assistant Referee 2: Chris Elliott
Fourth Official: Kali Smith