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The Royal Watch: URFC in 4th place, internationals represent, O’Hara returns

Your weekly Utah Royals FC update!

Anya Button

Here we go! The third edition of The Royal Watch, a weekly update to key moments, news, events, and happenings surrounding Utah Royals FC.

Royals in 4th place...for now

With the win over the Washington Spirit on Wednesday, Utah officially moved to fourth place, which is a big deal because only the top four teams at the end of the season continue to the playoffs. It’s been a tight race thus far. North Carolina Courage, Seattle Reign FC, and Portland Thorns FC have already clinched. Seattle and Portland secured their spots this week, which leaves four teams vying for that final coveted spot.

Honestly, the fact that Chicago has three games left may be making us a little nervous, and that is who can bump the Royals off that spot with a win or draw on Saturday against Orlando. The Pride can also do the same with a win. Because the Royals have one game left to play, all we can do is wait anxiously. Much is really out of the Royals’ control at this point. However, if they do miss out on the playoffs, the draw against Sky Blue FC this past Saturday, a game they should have won, may come back and haunt them.

But if one thing I’ve learned following the NWSL for the fourth season is that it is wild, and anything can happen. It may just be crazy enough that it all comes down to that final game against Chicago Red Stars on September 8 at the RioT to decide the rightful fourth place team.

Up next: a break, including the international break

The east coast trip is over, and the Royals now have an opportunity for a break before returning to prepare for the final regular season game. Some players will take time to rest while others will join their respective national teams for friendlies and World Cup qualifying.

  • Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, and Christen Press were named to the U.S. Women’s National Team 23-player training camp roster in preparation for a pair of friendlies against Chile on August 31 and September 4.
  • Diana Matheson and Desiree Scott will represent Canada’s National Team for a friendly against Brazil on September 2.
  • Gunny Jónsdóttir (Iceland), Rachel Corsie (Scotland), and Elise Thorsnes (Norway) are all taking part in World Cup qualifying during the FIFA break. Iceland plays September 1 and 4; Scotland has games on August 30 and September 4; and Norway take the field on August 31 and September 4.

We hear that all international players are scheduled to return prior to the regular season final game on September 8.

Random bits

“It feels really good to be back. Pretty tiring, but it’s the best feeling ever to be playing soccer again.” - Kelley O’Hara

  • Hey! Kelley O’Hara was able to play for the first time since May 9 after that crazy hamstring strain injury. We can all agree that it was good to see her on the field. Can’t help but wonder what the season would have looked like if she had been 100% for the 16 games she missed. Maybe the Royals would have been in better position for the playoffs. And not to put the hopes and dreams on one player, but O’Hara is a big-time footballer.
  • I said it last time, so I’ll say it again: There’s one home game left! September 8th is the date as Chicago again returns to the RioT. This could very well be the deciding game for both teams. Last time Chicago was in town, 19,000+ showed up. Perhaps it’s time that happens again. Rio Tinto has seen a few empty seats since then. Come on, Utah! Show up!
  • Am I the only one who missed Greg & Carla doing Royals commentary? Probably not.

Until next time!