One more road game, at least for the regular season. This is it. Utah Royals FC conclude their east coast road trip at the Maryland SoccerPlex with a midweek game against the Washington Spirit. Just like the game versus Sky Blue FC this past Saturday, this, too, is a must-win if the Royals hope to keep their playoff hopes alive.
No, really, a must-win game
This must be the mentality of the team going into this game. Utah must play with a sense of urgency if they hope to leave Washington with three points. A win would put them in 4th place, ahead of Chicago and Orlando (and if Houston does not win against Seattle in Tuesday’s matchup).
Despite the draw against Sky Blue FC, Utah Royals FC is still very much in contention after Portland and Chicago earned one point in Saturday’s game, and North Carolina Courage defeated Orlando Pride on Sunday morning. The team has certainly caught a break after a near disaster in New Jersey after falling 2-0 before a Sky Blue own goal and a stoppage-time equalizer. It’s now up to them to continue fighting for their season.
Washington playing for pride
Washington Spirit’s season will wrap up at the end after a disappointing year. They are 2-15-4 in 8th place with 10 points, and head coach Jim Gabarra was fired on Tuesday morning. Unlike Utah, who is playing for the continuation of their season, the Spirit have nothing to lose and will not make it easy for the Royals to win.
After Saturday’s game, defender Katie Bowen looked ahead:
“I think we have to watch footage on Washington. Obviously, we just played them, so I think we have to watch that game back and see what worked for us, what didn’t work for us. Again, we just have to come out and know we have to get three points if we want to be in this playoff race.”
This is the final meeting between the two teams. Both meetings have resulted in wins and shutouts for Utah Royals FC. In May, Utah cruised to a 2-0 win with goals from Kelley O’Hara and Diana Matheson. Most recently, on August 8th, the Royals managed a late second-half goal from Katie Stengel for the victory.
But that was then. This is now, and why they play the beautiful game.
When: Wednesday, August 22, 5:30 PM MT
Where: Maureen Hendricks Field - Maryland SoccerPlex | Boyds, MD
Weather: Partly Sunny, 77 degrees
Local Stream: KSL 5 TV app or KSL.com
Outside Utah Stream: www.NWSLsoccer.com or NWSL app
Referee: Natalie Simon