Home has been pretty good to Utah Royals FC over the last month. Two wins and two draws over four straight at Rio Tinto Stadium have the team in sixth place, but sitting just three points shy of second. The Golden Lionesses take to the road until the end of June, playing their next four away from home. Things get started with a visit to Portland to take on the Thorns.
Overall, the style and consistency of play we’re seeing from the Royals is greatly improved from the early matches. While there is still room to grow and improve, this road trip is a great opportunity to show the league how far they’ve come in such a short time.
Facing a tough opponent in front of a big crowd will be quite the challenge, but URFC has already shown it can match up well with the Thorns. Starting off the trip with a positive result will be important to set the tone and to continue building confidence.
Watch your hands
Yes, that’s a thorn joke. Players like league-leading goalscorer Christine Sinclair, Lindsey Horan, and Tobin Heath are just a small part of what makes Portland such a dangerous team. The Royals need to take control of the match early on, using their solid play in the midfield to keep the ball off the feet of the Thorns talented roster, and keeping their defenders busy.
Amy Rodriguez continues to work her way closer to being able to go a full 90 minutes, though some caution might be warranted while playing on Portland’s artificial surface. It will be interesting if that affects Laura Harvey’s plans, but regardless of that, the Royals need to be confident from the opening whistle and generate momentum that becomes unstoppable through this four-game swing.
It starts with this first game, and a solid performance resulting in taking points away from Portland is the first step the team needs to go forward and aim to maximize their playoff potential. When the road swing is done, half the matches this season will have been played, so these are vital points to earn and this match can go a long way towards setting up future success.
When: Friday, May 25th, 8:30 PM MT
Where: Providence Park — Portland, OR
Weather: Cloudy, 65 degrees
Broadcast: KMYU (TV), go90, KSL App (Streaming), ESPN 700 (Radio)
Referee: Lukasz Szpala