All good things come to a close, and Utah Royals FC finished off a string of four home matches with a solid 1-0 victory over Houston Dash. Here’s what we learned:
Laura Harvey has been fortunate to use almost the exact same starting lineup for these four home games, and it’s shown in how the team has put together four strong performances. Everyone on the field seems very comfortable with where they are supposed to be playing, and the results are improving with each match. Though we all would have liked more wins, there’s no shame in earning draws against two tough teams, and overall it’s comforting to see the team improve their all-around level of play as they prepare to leave Utah for a long stretch.
Know your role
A great example of how everyone has familiarized themselves with the team concept came in the form of seeing Erika Tymrak earn her first start of the season. Replacing Kelley O’Hara on the left wing of the attack, Tymrak is a player who was used to earning a lot of minutes during her five seasons in Kansas City. To her credit, she’s looked strong when she has substituted into matches and played extremely well taking on a full 90 minutes against Houston, including finishing the game-winning goal at the end of a nice counter attack. Players and coaches always talk about the ability a player must have to be ready for anything at any time, and Erika answered the call with a top-notch performance.
Making the push
The team is hitting a stride at a critical point. Royals FC are currently in sixth place with a third of their matches played, but they are only three points behind Seattle in second. The end of the season is still a long ways away, and with consistent improvement ,there’s easily a chance to secure a playoff spot in their first season as a team.
They’ll have to weather a small storm as it’s likely they’ll be without one or two players when the USWNT plays their friendlies against China, but they’ve shown the depth on the squad is capable of putting in the necessary work to get positive results.