Utah Royals FC won its first match in club history against the Washington Spirit, ending with a scoreline of 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
World-class goals by forwards Kelley O’Hara and Diana Matheson on either side of halftime gave the team its first-ever multi-goal lead, with GK Abby Smith and the team’s collective defending blanking the previously potent Spirit attack.
USWNT star Kelley O’Hara opened the match with an early seventh-minute goal, hitting a first-time shot within the box inside the near post. The goal came after Matheson deftly won a tackle near the halfway stripe, then crossed the ball to an onrushing Amy Rodriguez, who turned and split Spirit defense. Reading the through-ball, O’Hara stepped forward, sneaking the ball past Spirit GK Aubrey Bledsoe.
URFC continued to dominate for the remainder of the half, ending the 45 with the first half-time lead in club history.
The momentum shifted briefly in the second half, as Washington began to create opportunities in the attacking third, but defensive blocks from center backs Rachel Corsie and Becky Sauerbrunn held the Spirit to just one shot on frame. The score remained at 1-0 until the 66th minute, when a slide-tackle by the high-pressing Matheson led the Canadian star to a 1v1 duel atop of the penalty box with the Spirit keeper—and a second goal for the home side. URFC celebrated their first win in front of 7,551 fans, making for an electric atmosphere.
URFC will be looking for revenge against rival Orlando Pride on Wednesday, May 9, at 7:00 p.m. MT. Last time the two teams met, a dubious handball penalty kept URFC from taking home three road points, ending in a 1-1 draw, with goals from URFC MF Gunny Jonsdottir, and Pride MF Marta. Next week will mark the third match of a four-game homestand at Rio Tinto Stadium, followed by a Houston Dash visit on Sat., May 19.
Match: Utah Royals FC vs Washington Spirit
Date: May 5, 2018
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, UT
Weather: Overcast, 70 F
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Utah Royals FC 1 1 2
Washington Spirit. 0 0 0
UTA: O’Hara, 7’
UTA: Matheson, 66’
Utah Royals FC (4-3-3): Abby Smith, Brooke Elby, Rachel Corsie, Becky Sauerbrunn, Becca Moros, Desiree Scott, Gunny Jonsdottir, Katrina Gorry, Kelley O’Hara (Katie Bowen 85’), Amy Rodriguez (Katie Stengel 69’), Diana Matheson (Erika Tymrak, 88’)
Subs not used: Nicole Barnhart, Lo’eau LaBonta, Brittany Ratcliffe, Sydney Miramontez.
Washington Spirit: (4-3-3): Aubrey Bledsoe, Caprice Dydasco (Cali Farquharson 81’), Whitney Church, Taylor Smith, Estelle Johnson, Andi Sullivan, Meggie Dougherty Howard (Estefania Banini 63’), Tori Huster (Rebecca Quin 37’), Mallory Pugh, Francisca Ordega, Ashley Hatch.
Subs not used: Havana Solaun, Morgan Proffitt, Joanna Lohman, Kelsey Wys
Stats Summary: UTA / WASH
Shots: 10 / 12
Shots on Goal: 5 / 1
Saves: 1 / 5
Corner Kicks: 3 / 5
Fouls: 8 / 14
Offside: 4 / 0
UTA: Becky Sauerbrunn, 15’ Yellow
WASH: Taylor Smith, 72’ Yellow
Center: Reyna Fonseca
First Assistant: Brooke Mayo
Second Official: Dan Stupca
Fourth: Hamed Sadeghi