Here we are: the end of our first season of professional women’s soccer in Utah. There will be more to say in other articles around RSL Soapbox in the coming weeks as we digest our thoughts on the year, but we still have one game left with the 2018 Utah Royals FC players as the Chicago Red Stars complete our schedule.
Coming full circle
The 12 home games for URFC end where they began, by hosting Chicago in an afternoon match. Though we all wanted this game to be deciding the playoff hopes of both teams, there’s still a lot to be taken away from a Royals victory. Chicago has won both of the previous meetings this season, and Christen Press wasn’t playing in either game. It’s also the first time that Sam Kerr will play in Utah, and marks the return of Brooke Elby to Utah, although a sprained ankle may keep her from playing tomorrow.
Playing for pride
Bottom line here is that you always want to win, no matter what the significance of the match is. This roster has a chance to leave a mark in their first season with a win that would mean finishing 5th overall in the league table. Though it does fall short of the playoffs, it’s an impressive accomplishment all the same, and everyone wants to go into the offseason on as high of a note as possible.
One last RioT
It would be great to have the season end the way it began at home, with a big crowd celebrating the arrival of the NWSL in Utah. At the very least, we should get the standard 7,000-8,000 fans, which will keep the season average and total attendance as the second-highest in the league. That’s something to be proud of and something to build on for next season. With the FIFA Women’s World Cup happening next summer, it will be a popular time for women’s soccer in the United States as their national team tries for its fourth victory in the world’s largest tournament, as well as the possibility of joining Germany as back-to-back champions.
It’s been a great first season, so come out and celebrate all things Royals with us at the stadium tomorrow, and help us thank these incredible players for all the memories we’ve created with them this year.
When: Saturday, September 8th, 1:30 PM MT
Where: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT
Weather: Sunny, 82 degrees
Broadcast: KSL (app), nwslsoccer.com
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza