The ups-and-downs of the season continue as Utah Royals FC drop the last game of four in a row on the road to Chicago. With the team coming home for four of the next six, here’s what we learned from the 2-0 loss to the Red Stars.
Let’s be honest. We may have been looking at things through victory gold-colored lenses after two important wins, but the team hasn’t always looked at their best this trip. Wins against the top and bottom of the league fell in between unconvincing losses to playoff contenders. The lineup has been shuffled around, and few players outside the defense have consistently been good for several matches in a row.
With half the season played, the team is still in the thick of the race, but need to string together wins to make sure they have themselves playing a 25th match this season.
Looking for a spark
The generation of attacking presence just wasn’t there tonight. Laura Harvey said after the game that they missed something in preparing and failing to execute. The team struggled with spacing and passing, and wasn’t often able to truly threaten the goal. A missed chance in the first half, when Katrina Gorry headed a nice cross straight into Alyssa Naeher’s arms, might have been the Royals best chance to score.
The team is about to undergo a major change, as Christen Press and Samantha Johnson should be available for Harvey to put into the starting eleven for Wednesday’s home game against her former team, Seattle Reign. A lot of attention is going to be on the return of the USWNT star forward to the NWSL, and how she meshes with her new team. Quality of service, passing, spacing, tempo are all going to have to be at their best to fully take advantage of what Press can do. We’ll look forward to seeing how it all plays out.