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Utah Royals FC vs Portland Thorns FC: Match Preview

Rivalry match marks the first of four in a row at the RioT

Roscoe Myrick

Last week was good, but not great.

Utah Royals FC survived their opening stretch that included three away matches and came out with a draw and a point from each of those. Outside of the loss to Chicago in the home opener, it was a respectable set of games for the newly-formed club.

There will be gold

If anything can help the team turn things in the right direction, an extended stay at home should help a lot. The next four URFC matches all take place at the RioT, and this first one could be considered the first rivalry match in club history. Though there’s no back catalog of games to judge this by, Salt Lake and Portland have a somewhat contentious soccer history.

After having 19,203 fans attend the first home match, this is a great chance to start off the home stand strong with another large crowd against a club that has their own impressive attendance record, and will likely travel with a considerable amount of support much like their male counterparts do. In fact, Laura Harvey spoke after training that the Thorns supporters groups are already taunting her on Twitter with their intent to resume their heckling of her after the five seasons she spent managing their Cascadia rivals in Seattle. It’s on us to make sure our supporters are louder, and that we back our team to victory.

Pruning the Thorns

It won’t be easy. The Thorns possess a strong and deep roster, led by Canadian international legend Christine Sinclair. Americans Emily Sonnet, Midge Purce, Lindsey Horan, and Tobin Heath are rejoined by Brazilian Andressinha. Newly-added Swiss international Ana-Maria Crnogorčević is also proving to be a dangerous player in the attack.

It’s a lot for the Royals defense to absorb, but they’ve proven capable of shutting down attacks for the most part. The challenge will be to connect the passes forward and finish their chances, something the two goals scored in North Carolina will help add confidence to a squad still looking to find their best form of offense.

The rise of royalty

This is the time for the team to step forward and show they belong in the top of the league. There have been flashes of great play, but we have yet to see a truly complete performance from the whole team. With the long road trips and the pressure of the inaugural home match behind them, they can relax and focus on improving their passing and movement as they transition to attack. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get the crowd behind them and secure several wins while enjoying the comforts of home. Wear gold, and fill the RioT for this big match on Saturday!

Match details

When: Saturday, April 28th, 7:00 PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium — Sandy, UT

Weather: Sunny, 70 degrees

Broadcast: KMYU, KSL App, go90, ESPN 700

Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva