After two away games, an international break layoff, and a whole lot of anticipation and hype, the first home game in Utah Royals FC history is upon us! Let’s take a look at what the sellout crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium might see from the teams.
Utah Royals FC
Through two games in their inaugural season, the Royals have played two away games and come away with 2 draws. The biggest takeway from these two games? Thus far, URFC have been able to play lock down defense, with the only goal they have conceded coming via a poorly-called and completely incorrect penalty call against Becky Sauerbrunn.
According to Laura Harvey, who made a guest appearance on the Mike Petke Coaches Show earlier this week, this type of defensive performance has now become their expectation. She also stated that they have continued to work on building their attack, and hope to be able to break down their opponents and score goals, something they were not able to do against the Houston Dash despite having 65.9% of possession and recording six shots on goal. Look for the Royals to combine together to play fast, entertaining, attacking soccer. The team is hyped for this game and are surely going to do everything they can to put on an entertaining performance for the home crowd that has shown such enthusiasm in welcoming the team with open arms.
Chicago Red Stars
Through two games in the the 2018 NWSL season, the Red Stars have a record of 0-1-1 with three goals scored and four goals conceded. In week 1 of the season, they conceded to the Houston Dash before scoring a late equalizer to draw 1-1. In their second game they lost 3-2 to the Portland Thorns. In each of these games, Chicago held 58% of the overall possession.
The big combo for the Red Stars that Utah Royals FC are going to want to keep an eye on is the relationship between Alyssa Mautz and Sofia Huerta, who have combined together for 2 of Chicago’s three goals so far.
Injury Report (via NWSLSoccer.com)
Last updated April 13, 2018
UTAH ROYALS FC
OUT: Alex Arlitt (left knee strain – D45), Mandy Laddish (right hip contusion – SEI), Becca Moros (left calf strain)
QUESTIONABLE: Kelley O’Hara (left hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Katrina Gorry (AUS)
CHICAGO RED STARS
OUT: Vanessa DiBernardo (stress fracture pelvis – D45), Julie Ertz (right knee sprain), Casey Short (right ankle sprain – D45), Rosie White (right and left navicular fracture – D45)
QUESTIONABLE: Stephanie McCaffrey (illness)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Sam Kerr (AUS)
DEF: O’Hara, Sauerbrunn, Corsie, Miramontez
MID: Bowen, Scott
MID: Stengel, Jonsdottir, Matheson
Royals’ Keys to the Game
- Midfield Play. The big tell of this game will be play in the midfield. With both teams wanting to play possession-based soccer, the play in the midfield will determine who comes out on top. If the Royals can rule the midfield, then they should come out on top.
- Riding the emotion of the RioT. With this being the first home game in Royals history, there is going to be a lot of emotion from the players, and excitement from the fans. If the players can focus their emotion and use the excitement of the fans as motivation to perform at their best, they may just be unstoppable.