Utah Royals fans rejoice. The 2019 NWSL season schedule has been released!
In the upcoming NWSL season, Utah Royals FC get to host both their season opener and closer this year. There are no Sunday games and only three midweek games (one home, two away).
The season kicks off on April 13th for the league but Utah Royals FC’s first match of the year comes a week later, with them hosting the Washington Spirit at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 20th (7:00 p.m. MT). The Royals will also end the regular season at home, facing Houston Dash on October 12th. The NWSL regular season consists of 24 games, 12 home and 12 away, but with a league made up of nine teams, there will be bye weeks for every team.
The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup begins on June 7th and the final will be played on July 7th. URFC still play 3 games during that time (Sky Blue 6/15, Portland Thorns 6/21, and Reign FC 6/28), and with a likely 7 players on URFC away with their national teams, this will be a difficult stretch for the Royals. It’s a burden all teams will face, but Utah has the most international players, and with teams like the US and Canada likely to make a deep run in the tournament, this means key players missing league games. If the US win the tournament, that would mean the likes of Press, O’Hara, and Sauerbrunn would be away from the Royals even after the cup ends. The World Cup is the most exciting event in soccer bar none, however the lack of a substantial break in a relatively new and small league that wants to be the best women’s league in the world adds a burden to teams that seek to bring in top talent.
Another point of interest in the press release is the return of Amy Rodriguez. It’s unlikely she is an allocation player through US Soccer, which would mean the team is picking up her salary (with the maximum salary being $46,200). A-Rod will be an important attacking player, especially during the World Cup stretch.
For readers who are also both Utah Royals and Real Salt Lake fans, the following dates are weekends when both teams play at home:
URFC vs Chicago 5/3, RSL vs Portland 5/4
RSL vs Atlanta 5/24, URFC vs Orlando 5/25
URFC vs Reign FC 6/28, RSL vs SKC 6/29
URFC vs Portland 7/19, RSL vs Minnesota 7/20