It’s another edition of The Royal Watch, your weekly update to key moments, news, events, and happenings surrounding Utah Royals FC.
The Royals have entered a two-week break after an east coast road trip that saw them draw to Sky Blue FC and win over Washington Spirit. There’s one more game left to play, where it could decide their post-season hopes (or it may already have been decided for them even before kickoff).
Will Utah Royals FC make the playoffs?
Right now, it’s a “wait and see” kind of scenario. Currently, Utah stands fifth in the league with 32 points, two points behind Chicago Red Stars, who hold fourth place. Every other team below them - Houston Dash, Orlando Pride, Washington Spirit, and Sky Blue FC have all been eliminated from contention. It all just comes down to Utah or Chicago who will continue playing after September 8th.
Chicago has the advantage with two games left to play, whereas Utah only has that one versus the Red Stars. If Chicago wins or draws on Tuesday against Sky Blue FC, a team who has yet to win a single game this season, then the final playoff spot is theirs. The Red Stars hold the tie-breaker against Utah due to their head-to-head record (Chicago won both contests versus the Royals this season). So, really, the Royals’ hopes and dreams rest on...Sky Blue FC. Dun, dun, dun!
There is a bit of hope for that matchup: Chicago will be without its four U.S. internationals - Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, Morgan Brian, and Casey Short. Sky Blue will go ahead without Carli Lloyd, but the Red Stars will have MVP candidate and league goalscorer Sam Kerr. Dun, dun, dun!
So, really, we wait. Chicago Red Stars vs. Sky Blue FC on Tuesday, September 4th is one that the Royals and their fans will have to pay attention to, and hope that Sky Blue FC can get a major victory.
If Sky Blue FC wins on Tuesday, Chicago versus Utah on September 8th at the RioT will decide that final spot, and to be honest, I’m hoping that the storyline will be just that.
Come on, Sky Blue FC!
We think we finally know what is going with Elise Thorsnes
A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Norwegian international Elise Thorsnes may be leaving the Utah Royals. Our source: good ol’ Instagram where players posted about Thorsnes’ departure. There was no official news from the club, and there still has yet to be, about Thorsnes’ status.
This week, a story broke out of Norway that shed some light on what went down, and thanks to Twitter, because no one I know reads Norwegian, we think we finally know what happened.
Elise Thorsnes was set to join a club in #Toppserien for fall season, after her stay with Utah Royals hadn't gone as well as hoped (esp. because of injuries). Utah agreed, however the league said Utah couldn't release her because of her status as injured. https://t.co/ATeNuXXmDs— Katja (@applessquabble) August 28, 2018
So, yea...even though the league is stopping the transfer back to Norway, for the time being, it looks like eventually Thorsnes will leave the Royals after a disappointing season in Utah.
- International break is about to go down, and the Royals have a lot of players on national team duty! The U.S. Women’s National Team plays Chile in a couple of friendlies. Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Christen Press, Amy Rodriguez will represent in that. Gunny Jónsdóttir (Iceland), Rachel Corsie (Scotland), and Elise Thorsnes (Norway) are all trying to qualify for the 2019 World Cup. Diana Matheson and Desiree Scott are with Canada’s National Team to take on Brazil in a friendly.
- I’m gonna say it again for the third time in this column: There’s just 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! Go to the final game!
- Can’t believe the season is really winding down...Man, what a ride it has been, following and covering Utah Royals FC. I hope to have a top 10 moments list soon!
Until next time!