Utah Royals FC were glad to return to Rio Tinto Stadium after a rough Pacific Northwest trip. The return to the RioT has become a safe haven for the Royals where they were 3-1-3 this season coming into the game versus Orlando Pride. But tonight, despite taking the 1-0 lead in the 8th minute, Utah found themselves unable to capitalize after a questionable penalty right before halftime and then after Orlando took the lead in the 52nd minute.
Laura Harvey’s side revamped their confidence early, as Amy Rodriguez found the back of the net in the 8th minute. Playing it from the midfield, Katie Bowen sent a long ball to Rachel Corsie who then found Rodriguez on the run in the box. Rodriguez only had to touch the ball to get it past Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.
As halftime neared, Utah looked to go into the break with the lead. But as Orlando was awarded a corner kick and Ali Krieger sent the service into the 18, the referee noticed that Gunny Jónsdóttir was holding Alanna Kennedy and called for a penalty kick. Alex Morgan converted and put the Pride level with the Royals.
The start of the second half extended Orlando’s lead. Krieger found Kristen Edmonds breaking away from the Royals backline and sent a long ball her way. Goalkeeper Abby Smith was way off her line, and Edmonds took advantage of the keeper’s mistake sending it in for a goal.
The young goalkeeper’s night ended in the 72nd minute after landing awkwardly in the box. Nicole Barnhart came in as her replacement and kept Orlando from taking a commanding lead. Still, the Royals were not able to capitalize and for the first time this season lost three games in a row.
And now one must ask the question: What is going on with Utah Royals FC?