Utah Royals FC (0-1-2, 2 points) celebrated the club’s first ever home match in an all-day event in front of a standing room only crowd of 19,203 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. The festive day included pregame and postgame concerts, players from Real Salt Lake and Real Monarchs in attendance and a commemoration with Women In Sports and Events, as the National Women’s Soccer League’s newest club opened the 2018 home schedule with a 1-0 defeat to the Chicago Red Stars.
Utah outshot Chicago 13-10, but forced only one save out of Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher as the newly-founded club seeks its first win. FW Amy Rodriguez made her Utah Royals FC debut when she came on as a late substitute, returning to action 363 days after tearing her ACL in the 2017 NWSL opener for FC Kansas City.
In a balanced first half that saw both teams attempt five shots, the only shot on goal found the back of the net for the Chicago Red Stars. After a ball was crossed in from the right side, DF Rachel Corsie’s headed clearance fell to Danielle Colaprico just outside the box. She hit a wondrous volley that found the top corner of the net to make it 1-0 in the 27th minute.
In the second half, Utah went on the offensive while Chicago clung to the lead, but Royals FC wasn’t able to threaten the Red Stars goal and the match ended with the 1-0 final score.
Match: Utah Royals FC vs Chicago Red Stars
Date: April 14, 2018
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 58
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Utah Royals FC 0 0 0
Chicago Red Stars 1 0 1
CHI: Danielle Colaprico 27’
Utah Royals FC (4-3-3): Abby Smith; Kelley O’Hara (Sydney Miramontez 46’), Becky Sauerbrunn, Rachel Corsie, Brooke Elby; Katie Bowen, Gunny Jónsdóttir, Desire Scott; Lo’eau Labonta (Erika Tymrak 63’), Elise Thorsness, Diana Matheson (Amy Rodriguez 77’).
Subs not used: Nicole Barnhart, Taylor Lytle, Katie Stengel, Brittany Ratcliffe
Chicago Red Stars: (4-1-4-1): Alyssa Naeher; Taylor Comeau, Katie Naughton, Sam Johnson, Arin Gilliland; Nikki Stanton; Alyssa Mautz (Summer Green 80’), Sofia Huerta, Danielle Colaprico, Michelle Vasconcelos; Yuki Nagasato (Stephanie McCaffrey 91+’).
Subs not used: Lauren Kaskie, Emily Boyd, Erin Yenney, Sarah Gorden
Stats Summary: UTA / CHI
Shots: 13 / 10
Shots on Goal: 1 / 2
Saves: 1 / 1
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 10 / 6
Offside: 6 / 1
Utah Royals FC (0-0-2, 2 pts., NWSL 5thplace) inaugurates the home portion of its first-ever season Saturday afternoon by playing its third National Women’s Soccer League match in club history at 1:30 p.m. MT against the visiting Chicago Red Stars at Rio Tinto Stadium. The match marks the historic home opener for a club born less than 150 days ago, as acclaimed Head Coach Laura Harvey’s side begins a run that sees five of the team’s next six games on the Wasatch Front.
Following a pair of road draws at Houston (0-0, March 30) and at Orlando (1-1, March 24), the Utah Royals FC return home Saturday includes Carnival Real on the Stadium’s East Side at 12 noon (featuring a pre-game concert from local band “Royal Bliss”) and triple-platinum recording artist Rachel Platten to sing the national anthem and provide a post-game concert.
This week’s home match occurs on the backside of a FIFA international break, as six players – Captain Becky Sauerbrunn (USA), MF Desiree Scott & FW Diana Matheson (Canada), MF Gunny Jonsdottir (Iceland), FW Elise Thorsnes (Norway) and DF Rachel Corsie (Scotland) – have returned to the club’s fold this week. Australian MF Katrina Gorry helped her nation clinch a berth in the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 with today’s 1-1 draw with Japan, and will arrive in Utah in late April.
Utah Royals FC earned a road point for the second consecutive week to open its existence, managing a 0-0 draw at Houston against the Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium Friday night.
First-half opportunities for MF Gunny Jonsdottir - whose free kick from 22 yards out was tipped just over the bar - and FW Katie Stengel threatened the frame, but Houston GK Jane Campbell was impenetrable on the night.
Royals FC DF Brooke Elby - a 30th-minute substitution for injured DF Becca Moros - and MF Erika Tymrak, also making her club debut, had chances late in the match to find the game-winner, but were unable to capitalize. Meanwhile, URFC GK Abby Smith was rarely tested in the match, also finishing with the shutout, the first in club history and the former Texas Longhorn's fourth of her NWSL career.
Head Coach Laura Harvey's team now joins the rest of the NWSL in observing the upcoming FIFA international break, returning to action for the first time ever on Utah soil on Sat., April 14 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kickoff for that historic event is at 1:30p MT, as the nationally-televised NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime against Chicago also features triple-platinum recording artist Rachel Platten singing the anthem pregame and celebrating a new era for sports in Utah with a post-Gabe concert featuring "Fight Song" and her other hits. Tickets are available at www.UtahRoyalsFC.com or by calling 844.Real.Tix.
Utah Royals FC will take a break this week as several international players head out during the FIFA window to represent "club and country." Canadian internationals MF Desiree Scott & MF Diana Matheson travel to France, while MF Gunny Jonsdottir returns to guide Iceland while FW Elise Thorsnes represents Norway. DF Rachel Corsie, the captain of the Scotland WNT squad, departs, while MF Katrina Gorry continues her Australian role in FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifying. Lastly, USWNT co-Captain Becky Sauerbrunn returns to USWNT duty in the upcoming days.
URFC dominated tonight's match with a 66-34% possession advantage over Houston, connecting nearly twice as many passes as the Dash (668 to Houston's 340). Utah Royals FC retained a majority of their possession in the back with center backs Becky Sauerbrunnand Rachel Corsie holding steady in front of the box, not allowing Houston a single shot on frame, and clearing the ball on 20 occasions. A majority of URFC's chances on goals came through Matheson and Scott, both instrumental in dictating tempo and providing the final passes to create six shots on the frame.
Match: Utah Royals FC vs. Houston Dash
Date: March 16, 2018
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, TX)
Weather: Clear and 69 F
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Utah Royals FC 0 0 0
Houston Dash 0 0 0
Utah Royals FC: Abby Smith, Becca Moros (Brooke Elby, 34'), Becky Sauerbrunn, Rachel Corsie, Sydney Miramontez, Desiree Scott, Katie Bowen (Lo'eau LaBonta, 60'), Gunnhildur Jonsdottir, Diana Matheson, Katie Stengel, Brittany Ratcliffe (Erika Tymrak, 67')
Subs not used: Nicole Barnhart, Maegan Kelly, Alexa Newfield, Taylor Lytle
Houston Dash: Jane Campbell, Kristie Mewis, Janine Van Wyk (Lindsay Agnew, 76'), Amber Brooks, Rachel Daly, Haley Hanson, Linda Maserame Motlhalo, Kimberly Keever, Meleana Shim, Veronica Latsko (Nichelle Prince, 61'), Savannah Jordan
Subs not used: Claire Falknor, Michaela Hahn, Bianca Henninger, Alli Murphy, Sammy Jo Prudhomme
Stats Summary: UTA / HOU
Shots: 10 / 7
Shots on Goal: 6 / 0
Saves: 0 / 0
Corner Kicks: 0 / 5
Fouls: 5 / 10
Offside: 4 / 4
Referee: Elton Garcia
Assistant Referee 1: Jeremy Weed
Assistant Referee 2: Maggie Short
Fourth Official: Andrea Jedele
Utah Royals FC kicked off its inaugural National Women's Soccer League campaign on Saturday, March 24, against the Orlando Pride, at the the Orlando City Stadium. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with Gunny Jonsdottir scoring the first goal (assist from Diana Matheson), in club history in the third minute of the match. Orlando Pride's Marta scored from the penalty spot in the 19th minute off of a controversial Becky Sauerbrunn hand ball. Utah Royals FC travel later this week to face the Houston Dash on Friday at 6:00p MT .