Today was the first ever home match for the newly-minted Utah Royals FC. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go how we’d hoped.
The start to the match was incredible as the 19,203 fans who packed Rio Tinto Stadium were loud and excited, which only made the players more amped up. URFC started off strong with a lot of possession, a missed call that maybe should have been a PK, and a ton of opportunities on goal. Unfortunately, in the 27th minute, Danielle Colaprico scored the first and only goal of the match to give Chicago Red Stars the advantage.
Coming into the second half, it was apparent early on that Chicago was getting tired. With this being their first ever visit to Utah, and one of the only teams with a large elevation change, the altitude was getting to them. By the 60th minute, Chicago was playing with a lot of fouls and was just trying to hold on. This played to Utah’s advantage for a little while.
From the 75th minute, the Utah Royals couldn’t seem to catch a break. They were able to keep the ball pretty well but unable to capitalize on any of their opportunities. Some missed passes and miscommunication led to a few turnovers, but they were typically able to recover pretty quickly. Unfortunately, despite having 13 shots, they weren’t able to get the tying goal. Utah will have to wait until April 28th vs the Portland Thorns to hopefully see the first-ever home goal.
Amy Rodriguez Returns
There was one very big positive to this match with the return of Amy Rodriguez. After 363 days off the pitch due to her ACL tear last season in Kansas City, she was finally able to return to action. She played just 15 minutes but was on fire for them. She definitely didn’t lose her competitive drive in her time away.
All in all, this game wasn’t the prettiest match, and we didn’t get this result, but when this team gets more time together, they will be a team to watch. Be sure to watch them next week in North Carolina at 1:30 MST.