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What We Learned: Utah Royals FC vs Sky Blue FC

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First three-goal night, first brace, first throne celebration in 3-1 win.

Cindy Lara - RSL Soapbox

What a match!

Regardless of the opponent, that was the best overall performance that Utah Royals FC have put forward all season. Let’s break down what we learned from the 3-1 victory overy Sky Blue FC.

Attacking with purpose

URFC took 11 shots, 5 of which were on frame. Three of those found the back of the net, which is pretty great for a team that has been struggling to be a scoring threat. On a night that saw Amy Rodriguez and Diana Matheson sit on the sideline for 90 minutes, the Royals still looked dangerous offensively. Everybody looks sharp and focused, and the effort is paying off with the team turning solid defending, passing, and possession into real chances to score.

Too much of a good thing

A few of the players are looking a lot better than they did at the beginning of the season. Katie Bowen, for one, has grabbed her chance to shine as a full back in recent games. She’s not only defending very well, but she’s becoming very involved in helping the attack go forward. It’s one thing to be able to stop the opponent, but another to be aggressive and turn the ball up the field when the chance comes. When Kelley O’Hara returns to full fitness, Laura has a lot of decisions to make about who gets minutes, and at which positions.

Adaptability

Harvey made interesting substitutions in this match, starting with putting Elise Thorsnes in at left back for Becca Moros. That’s unusual for a player who has been a dedicated forward for almost her entire career. She’s struggled to get going up front for the Royals, however, but Harvey isn’t afraid to get her involved in any way she can, even if that means asking her to chase down threats to the goal.

It was also interesting to see Rachel Corsie come in to replace Katrina Gorry, making a formidable defensive midfield pairing with Desiree Scott. That’s a luxury having Samantha Johnson affords the Royals, and it’s not a bad move in the later stages of a game you’re comfortably winning. The final move saw Sydney Miramontez replace Katie Stengel, with Thorsnes assuming her more traditional striker spot. Six defenders were in place to ensure that SBFC didn’t threaten to close the lead to one goal or less.

Take your time

The second game with Christen Press looked a lot better than the first. While the Royals struggled to find her in open spaces for much of the Seattle match, her teammates were at least trying to put her through behind the defenders more often, even if it didn’t always work. Press herself was also picking her head up a lot more and looking for chances to pass to players in positions to score, especially on the beautiful assist for Katie Stengel’s first goal. The more comfortable they get together, the more dangerous they will become, which will help the now fourth-place team secure a playoff spot in their first season.