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Utah Royals FC vs Houston Dash: Match Preview

Second meeting with the Dash, second Lifetime Game of the Week.

Trask Smith

The rematches continue for Utah Royals FC this week. After earning a second draw with Orlando Pride, the Golden Lionesses welcome Houston Dash for their first visit to Rio Tinto Stadium on the Lifetime Game of the Week

Making the most of it

This is the last home game before a rough stretch of four in a row away from Utah. Royals FC have claimed one win and two draws so far from their three straight at home, and would be fantastic to finish the run off with another win. The overall play of the team has seen a lot of improvement, and this game marks 13 of the season completed. With the team in sixth place, it’s vital to secure points and stay close to the top four playoff positions.

Playing at home

It’s not just a home game for the Royals, it’s also the first chance that Dash forward Kealia Ohai has had to play professional soccer in her home state. The Alta High School and University of North Carolina star hasn’t played a game on the Rio Tinto Stadium pitch since winning the last of her state championships in 2009. Much like the return of BYU alum Ashley Hatch two weeks ago with Washington, this is a big moment in inspiring young players in the state to reach for their dreams. Ohai didn’t play in Houston’s last two matches, with Rachel Daly taking her place on the forward line, but she’s not listed on their injury report so she may still get the chance to play.

Being dynamic

The Dash have earned two tough draws in the past week, while the Royals have only played once. It’s going to be important to control possession from the beginning and take advantage of the atmosphere in the RioT to keep Houston from gaining an advantage. The Dash counter-attack very well, and can pressure the defense if the Royals aren’t able to avoid losing the ball in the midfield.

The Royals will be missing Kelley O’Hara for this match, so whoever fills in for her on the front line will have to match the intensity and creativity she has brought for the last two games. Building confidence and earning a quality result is important, so it’s time for this team to step up and show what they are truly capable of being.


Match details

When: Saturday, May 19th, 1:30 PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium — Sandy, UT

Weather: Sunny, 65 degrees

Broadcast: Lifetime (TV), ESPN 700 (Radio)

Referee: Eric Tattersall