Utah Royals FC returned to Rio Tinto Stadium after spending the last four games on the road, picking up two wins against Sky Blue FC and North Carolina Courage and losing against Portland Thorns FC and Chicago Red Stars along the way.
It was a much-anticipated return to the #RioT as Christen Press made her debut after the team acquired her in a three-team trade on June 18. Press made her first start for the Royals as Laura Harvey utilized a 4-1-3-2 against her former team, with Press and Rodriguez up top.
The tactical change and the addition of Press significantly improved the Royals offense. By the end of the first half, which remained scoreless, the Royals had 8 shots, 3 on goal. Press contributed with 3 shots, 2 on goal. Defensively, Utah held Seattle to 3 shots, 1 on goal.
A return to the second half saw much of the urgency for Utah, including Press making various runs to press the Seattle defense. But despite all of the chances, Seattle’s goalkeeper Michelle Betos made the saves necessary to keep the game level near the end of regulation time.
Press, however, came close to sending the crowd into a frenzy in the 91st minute, but Betos made the save near the line.
In a game that gave a glimpse of what the rest of the season could look like for Utah, with an offense constantly on the attack with Press in the lineup, the Royals would have to settle for another draw, the sixth of their season.
Though the team could have used the three points, and it looked like Press would score at any moment in the game, a draw against a solid Reign FC team can feel like a positive for Laura Harvey as the team gets ready to host Sky Blue FC on Saturday evening.