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On to Rose City: Utah Royals FC @ Portland Thorns FC match preview

Utah Royals FC face Portland Thorns FC for the first time this season.

Cindy Lara | RSL Soapbox

Match Details

Utah Royals FC (5-2-1) @ Portland Thorns FC (4-1-3)

When: Friday, June 21, 2019 | 9 PM MT

Where: Providence Park | Portland, OR

Weather: 70 degrees, sunny

Live Stream: KSL TV app, Yahoo Sports app

Radio: ESPN 700

It’s Portland, y’all. It’s the first time ever Utah Royals FC face the one and only Thorns FC in 2019 at Providence Park. Why am I making it sound like it’s the most daunting thing ever? Well, let’s look at history, at least from 2018:

  • April 28, 2018 - Rio Tinto Stadium - Utah Royals FC 1; Portland Thorns 1
    Alright. Not so bad. A draw.
  • May 25, 2018 - Providence Park - Utah Royals FC 0; Portland Thorns 2
    Eek. Okay. This one was rough.
  • June 6, 2018 - Providence Park - Utah Royals FC 0; Portland Thorns 4
    Oof. This one was to tough to watch.

Utah is 0-2-3 against Portland, the team Royals FC seemed to struggle the most against in 2018. Historically, Laura Harvey’s record at Providence Park is not impressive either. Harvey’s regular season record at Providence Park is 2-6-2.

Okay, okay. I’ll stop with the negativity. Yes, Portland can be a little scary, and Harvey’s record at Providence Park isn’t great, but this is 2019, a new season. The 2019 Royals are not the 2018 Royals.

So, how is Portland doing this season?

Portland Thorns FC Stats
Record: 4-1-3 (3rd place)
Head Coach: Mark Parsons
Clean Sheets: 3
Goals Allowed Per Game: 1.4
Total Shots: 75
Shots on Target: 17
Players to Watch: Midge Purce - 4 goals; Britt Eckerstrom: 19 saves, 5 goals against, 2 clean sheets

Like much of the NWSL, the Thorns have missed the absence of their international players. Think Tobin Heath, Adrianna Franch, Lindsey Horan, Emily Sonnett, Caitlin Foord, Ellie Carpenter, Hayley Raso, Christine Sinclair. Still, they’ve managed to maintain a record that has them at number three in the NWSL standings, one point behind URFC, and they’ll present a tough challenge to Utah, especially at Providence Park.

Portland Thorns FC Injury Report

OUT: Emily Menges (Left Thigh), Angela Salem (Left Knee)

QUESTIONABLE: None

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Adrianna Franch (USA), Tobin Heath (USA), Lindsey Horan (USA), Christine Sinclair (CAN), Emily Sonnett (USA), Haley Raso (AUS), Caitlin Foord (AUS), Ellie Carpenter (AUS), Andressinha (BRA)

Utah must continue winning momentum

With last week’s win over Sky Blue FC, Utah regained the number two spot in the standings, trailing the Washington Spirit by a point. The focus now is to keep the winning momentum, but tonight’s game won’t be a walk in the park, especially not at Providence Park against Portland. But if Amy Rodriguez has a good game and can break down the Thorns defense, Utah can leave Portland with another win. They’ll have to go without Vero Boquete this week who is out with the ankle injury she suffered last week vs. Sky Blue, a huge hit to Utah’s midfield. The good news is that Lo LaBonta returns after serving a two-game suspension, helping that midfield.

Keys to winning:

  • Amy Rodriguez has to continue her scoring streak. She’s been Utah’s most consistent player on the attack since Christen Press left for international duty. With five goals in six games, she’s Utah’s leading scorer and second in the league.
  • Don’t let the crowd get to ya. Providence Park is loud, and the Rose City Riveters will make it loud and jeer and cheer as much as they can. It’s important for Utah to not let the boos or loudness get to them.

Prediction: Utah Royals FC win, 1-0

Utah Injury Report

OUT: Brittany Ratcliffe (SEI-Left knee), Maddie Nolf (Left hip), Taylor Lytle (SEI-Left foot), Vero Boquete (right ankle)

QUESTIONABLE: None

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Becky Sauerbrunn (USA), Kelley O’Hara (USA), Christen Press (USA), Desiree Scott (CAN), Diana Matheson (CAN), Rachel Corsie (SCO), Katie Bowen (N