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What We Learned: Utah Royals FC @ North Carolina Courage

Stoppage time goal gives URFC second road win, hands Courage first loss of the season.

Lucas Muller - RSL Soapbox

That’s what we’ve been waiting for!!!

Lucky or good?

I’m keeping this header from last week. There was a bit of both in this match, from more of the stellar defensive work we’ve come to know to the nice saves the crossbar made, to Brittany Ratcliffe’s outstanding steal and finish for the winning goal. It was a huge win to put a number in North Carolina’s loss column and great for the team’s confidence to do it away from home.

Back to work

With all the international players coming back for this one, they all looked fantastic on the pitch. Only four of the Courage’s 15 shots were on target, and Abby Smith saved all of them. The Royals looked strong coming back from the break and put in a huge effort to contain the league-leaders from being too dangerous, weathering 94 minutes of play before putting the bow on the win.

Forward momentum

Two wins in a row, on either side of a week off, and in the middle of a road swing, is a big turning point for the team to rally around, with hard work and determination leading to great results. Having an attitude of patience and confidence to wait for your moment and knowing you can find a way to win will serve the team well as they push to make the playoffs (sitting in fourth place right now), and hopefully make a run at the championship.

Bittersweet moments

With rumors swirling before the game relating to the news coming from the Chicago Red Stars about a trade happening in the league, URFC fans noted the absence of Brooke Elby from the roster, though she did travel with the team. In the post-game celebration, Elby went out to give Ratcliffe a big hug, then got pulled into the center of the team circle in what might have been her last moments as a Royal. We’ll wait to hear the official news, of course, but it would be a happy final memory to celebrate an important win with your teammates.