We’ve all been waiting for the day when Utah Royals FC suit up in their Victory Gold and Cobalt Blue kits and make history at Rio Tinto Stadium, and this Saturday it becomes a reality for us all.
One for the record books
So many firsts are going to happen in this match. First home game, first national television broadcast, first sellout of the RioT for a women’s soccer match, and hopefully lots of first goals and the team’s first win.
We’ve been promised an event to remember above and beyond the basics of the match being played. There should be a lot of pre-match spectacle taking place, including Rachel Platten singing the national anthem and giving a post-match concert as well. This is the chance for the RSL Family to welcome this club in person, and create something new and exciting in the stadium to support the ladies.
Raising the intensity
As much as the fans know this is a big moment, the players are aware of it as well. Much has been said through the first two games that while earning two points on the road is a positive, the whole team knows they can play better than they have. Coming off the FIFA break, the players who stayed in Utah have had a chance to relax and refocus on what needs to be better, and the players who got matches in against higher level competition were impressive and come back in great form.
What is needed now is for them to finally put it all together in a complete 90 minutes that shows what they are capable of. The defense has been outstanding so far, and while the attack has shown flashes of greatness it’s time for them to break out and put multiple goals in the net.
Home field advantage
Much has been made of the difference in facilities that these players are experiencing compared to past teams they have played for. From the training academy to the locker room in Rio Tinto, and the rest of the things that have been done to support the players, they have the somewhat unique ability to focus on being prepared to play soccer that other teams don’t always have.
For the first time these players get to use the comforts of home in Utah to get ready to show the community what they can do, and also have the benefit of hosting a team going through some struggles to start 2018. Chicago has been missing their star forward Sam Kerr, who is in the midst of World Cup qualifying with Australia, and has also suffered a bevy of injuries to key players including Julie Ertz, Vanessa DiBernardo, and Casey Short. For a team to have to travel and also potentially only have three field players available as subs means that URFC have a chance to come out strong and take control of the match from the opening whistle.
The amount of support this team has already received has been nothing short of incredible. Now it’s time to put it all together as 18,000 fans pack the stadium to witness professional women’s soccer come to Utah.
When: Saturday, April 14th, 1:30PM MT
Where: Rio Tinto Stadium — Sandy, UT
Weather: Clear skies, 45 degrees
Broadcast: Lifetime, 100.7 FM
Referee: Karen Abt