Utah Royals FC stayed in playoff contention and won the season series with the top-ranked North Carolina Courage, holding off a potent attack in a 0-0 draw Friday night in front of a crowd of 8,529 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart finished the night with four saves, facing 20 shots on the night as the Royals moved to 3-2-4 at home and 1-0-2 overall against the front-running Courage.
North Carolina had the better of the chances in the first half, outshooting Utah 9-1. However, the only shot on goal came in the sixth minute when Abby Erceg snapped a header off a ball from the left side off the boot of Debinha, forcing Barnhart into a diving save to her right to keep the match scoreless.
The second half was tilted more in Utah’s favor, with the Royals putting the pressure on North Carolina’s defense throughout the half. Still the Courage held an 11-4 shots advantage in the half, defender Rachel Corsie coming up with the biggest stop of the night in the 88th minute as Lynn Williams got out on the break. With Darian Jenkins charging up the left side, Corsie slid in to block a ball from Williams bound for the far post. That kept the match scoreless as the teams finished with a 0-0 draw.
Utah Royals FC is currently sixth in the NWSL standings, six points behind the Chicago Red Stars, currently in the fourth and final playoff spot.
UP NEXT: Utah Royals FC heads back on the road to face the Houston Dash on Sunday, August 5. Utah is currently 1-0-1 against the Dash this season, taking a 1-0 victory in their last meeting on May 19.
Match: Utah Royals FC vs. North Carolina Courage
Date: July 20, 2018
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Weather: Partly cloudy and 88
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Utah Royals FC 0 0 0
North Carolina Courage 0 0 0
Utah Royals FC (4-3-3): Nicole Barnhart; Katie Bowen, Samantha Johnson, Rachel Corsie, Becca Moros; Desiree Scott, Gunny Jónsdóttir, Katrina Gorry (Brittany Ratcliffe 64’); Diana Matheson (Lo’eau Labonta 75’), Katie Stengel, Taylor Lytle (Erika Tymrak 80’).
Subs not used: Becca Ritchie, Sydney Miramontez, Collette Smith, Elise Thorsnes.
North Carolina Courage (4-4-2): Katelyn Rowland; Heather O’Reilly, Kaleigh Kurtz, Abby Erceg, Meredith Speck; Kristen Hamilton, Denise O’Sullivan, Cari Roccaro (Yuri Kawamura 82’), Debinha; Jessica McDonald (Darian Jenkins 73’), Lynn Williams.
Subs not used: Sabrina D’Angelo, Morgan Reid, Ryan Williams, Sarah Teegarden, Carlin Hudson.
Stats Summary: UTA / NCC
Shots: 5 / 20
Shots on Goal: 1 / 4
Saves: 4 / 1
Corner Kicks: 5 / 8
Fouls: 6 / 8
Offside: 1 / 2
Referee: Christina Unkel
Assistant Referee: Maggie Short
Assistant Referee: Diego Blas
4th Official: Kristi Mak