Fresh off its first road victory of the season, Orlando Pride (2-2-2, 8 points) will look to keep its winning form when it travels to face Utah Royals FC (1-1-4, 7 points) in the second match of a three-game road trip. The game, which will be a rematch of the Pride’s 2018 season opener, will kick off at 9 p.m. ET at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“Utah is a very experienced and well organized team who will obviously be playing with a little bit more energy after picking up their first win this weekend,” Orlando Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “[Royals Head Coach] Laura Harvey has put together a team of high-quality players, many with international pedigree, so like every match in this league, we will have to be switched on and at the top of our game for all 90 minutes to get the result.”
In the first meeting between the two teams this year, Orlando’s home opener on March 24 and the first-ever match for Utah, the sides split points with a 1-1 draw. The visitors jumped out to an early lead after Gunny Jónsdóttir scored just three minutes in but the Pride found a way back, with Marta equalizing on a 21st minute penalty kick.
The Pride enter Wednesday’s match off a dominating 2-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars last week. Orlando scored on both sides of the half, with Chioma Ubogagu striking in a distance shot in the 28th minute before Rachel Hill danced around Alyssa Naeher and put the game out of reach in the 81st minute. Sydney Leroux and Emily van Egmond each picked up their first assists of the season on the goals
The match marked the first start of the season for van Egmond, who dictated the midfield with Alanna Kennedy and Dani Weatherholt and led both teams with 81 touches, 63 passes and 32 passes in the opponent’s half. With the shutout, the Pride defense also held the Red Stars without a goal at Toyota Park for the first time in regular season play.
The Royals picked up their first-ever franchise victory on Saturday, defeating visiting Washington Spirit 2-0 behind goals from Kelley O’Hara and Diana Matheson. Through six games, Utah has spread the love amongst the stat sheet with six different goal scorers - all with one goal.
Though Wednesday will mark the first time Orlando ventures to the Mountain Time Zone, Rio Tinto Stadium has hosted members of the Pride with the U.S. Women’s National Team four previous times - including a March 31, 2010, game against Mexico which marked Alex Morgan’s first cap with the U.S. WNT. Morgan has scored two goals and three assists in Sandy, while Leroux has one goal.
After Wednesday’s game, the Pride will stay on the road and head straight to Portland to prepare for Saturday’s match against the Thorns. That game will kickoff from Providence Park at 3:30 p.m. ET and will be aired nationally on Lifetime.