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The quest to remain undefeated: Utah Royals FC vs. Houston Dash preview

The undefeated Utah Royals FC host Houston Dash at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Cindy Lara | RSL Soapbox

It’s game four for Utah Royals FC. After three games, Utah stands as the only undefeated team in the NWSL and at the top of the standings. That’s super wild, especially when we think back to last year’s start. It’s an ideal start, and the best start we all hoped for, and what the team worked for, but now, every team is going to be targeting URFC to stop their undefeated streak, like the Houston Dash, who visit Rio Tinto tomorrow.

Scouting Houston Dash

Record: 2-1-1 (3rd place)

Head Coach: James Clarkson

Leading goalscorers:

Sofia Huerta: 1 goal, 1 assist

Nichelle Prince: 1 goal

Rachel Daly: 1 goal

Kealia Ohai: 1 goal

Goalkeeper: Jane Campbell - 11 saves, 5 goals against, 1 clean sheet

Like Utah, the Dash are off to a surprising good start with two wins, one draw, and a loss, placing them in third place. Their wins, however, have come against teams who have found themselves struggling, like Sky Blue FC and Orlando Pride. Houston’s one loss came to North Carolina Courage, who defeated them by three goals.

It’s hard to say how much of a challenge Houston will pose to Utah. This is the NWSL, though, and no team should be counted out. In three meetings, Houston has yet to beat URFC.

Houston Injury Report

OUT: Meleana Shim (Left ankle), Veronica Latsko (Left knee), Taylor Comeau (Right Arm)

QUESTIONABLE: Kyah Simon (Right Ankle), Christine Nairn (Left Thigh), Cece Kizer (Right Leg)


Utah Royals FC to adapt without Desiree Scott

Last week was the first time this season that Utah played without Becky Sauebrunn, Christen Press, and Kelley O’Hara as they departed for international duty for the next two-ish months. The team did just fine without them as Utah recorded its third win of the season, remaining undefeated.

But this week, we found out that Desiree Scott and Diana Matheson would join the Canadian National Team for preliminary camp in preparation for the World Cup. Matheson has yet to play this season due to injury, but losing Scott will be a major adjustment. Basically, Scott has been bossing the midfield, particularly the defensive mid. Scott played all 270 minutes of the games she started, completed 82.9% of her passes, with an 83.3% success rate on tackles, six clearances, and six interceptions.

The question now is, and I am curious to see, who Laura Harvey uses to replace Scott. That will be a major key to winning tomorrow’s game, who steps up in that defensive midfield position. Dun, dun, dun!

Prediction: Utah Royals FC win, 2-0

Utah Injury Report

OUT: Brittany Ratcliffe (SEI-Left knee), Sydney Miramontez (Right foot), Maddie Nolf (Left hip), Taylor Lytle (Left foot)

QUESTIONABLE: Becca Moros (Left knee)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Becky Sauerbrunn (USA), Kelley O’Hara (USA), Christen Press (USA), Desiree Scott (CAN), Diana Matheson (CAN)

Match Details

When: Saturday, May 11, 2019 | 1:30 PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium | Sandy, UT

Weather: 61 degrees, clear skies

Live Stream: KSL TV app, Yahoo Sports app

Referee: Natalie Simon