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URFC vs. Spirit, Player of the Match: Diana Matheson

The Canadian international provided the vital hustle and energy necessary for the Royals to get their first ever 3 points.

Diana Matheson
Lucas Muller - RSL Soapbox

The 34-year-old Canadian provided the assist to Gunny Jonsdottir which ended up being the first goal in Utah Royals FC History. Since then, it could be argued that she hit a bit of a dip in form, although that was far from the case this weekend. She made the steal in the seventh minute, subsequently was able to get the ball to Amy Rodriguez who passed a beautiful through ball to Kelley O’Hara, who then opened up her goal account in a gold uniform. In the 66th minute, Diana Matheson was able to show her skill again going in on a slide tackle and chipping the keeper on what will surely be a candidate for goal of the week.

Other Contenders

Becky Sauerbrunn - The captain did what the captain does, showing excellent leadership and making several important tackles across the backline.

Kelley O’Hara - Looking incredibly agitated doing crossing and finishing drills before the game began, few crosses hit the intended target and even fewer shots ended in the back of the net. The clear frustration in pre-game would not spill over into the game, however. In the 7th minute, O’Hara showed excellent control on the ball and was able to put a beautiful ball past the Spirit keeper. The defender playing out of position nearly struck again in the 29th minute, but the ball went just outside the right post.

Brooke Elby - Despite not seeing game time recently due to injury and tactical decisions, she had a solid performance, including making an incredible important tackle in the 38th minute.

Abby Smith - Ran off her line in the 17th minute, leaving a completely open net, it was a dangerous but courageous move. Throughout the game, she made several other crucial saves including sacrificing her body to get to a dangerous ball in the air. Arguably, her best performance of the year so far.

Katrina Gorry - The young Australian looked incredibly composed and compact. It was impossible to tell that she missed pre-season and has been with the club only a week.

The Fans - We were loud, we were proud, and we crushed their spirit. It’s been a while since the RioT had been as electric as it was that night, and I hope such energy carries over to Wednesday night against the Orlando Pride.