When: Friday, June 28, 2019 | 8 PM MT
Where: Rio Tinto Stadium | Sandy, UT
Weather: 89 degrees, sunny
Live Stream: KSL TV app, Yahoo Sports app
Radio: ESPN 700
Last week, it was Portland. This week, it’s Reign FC. If we flashback to last summer, when Utah had Pacific Northwest trip to Portland and Seattle, it didn’t go so well. Utah Royals FC dropped both games.
“Seattle and Portland were really difficult teams for us last year, coming here was brutal, so to come away with a point after what we went through last year is a positive.” - Laura Harvey on holding Portland scoreless last Friday
So, that was then. This is now as Utah, after holding their own in Portland, leaving Rose City with a point, return to Rio Tinto Stadium to host Reign FC instead of staying in the Pacific Northwest. It’s another Friday Night Lights game for Utah, and it’s going to be quite the matchup against one of the best teams in the NWSL.
Scouting Reign FC
Reign FC Stats
Record: 3-1-5 (14 points, 4th place)
Head Coach: Vlatko Andonovski
Clean Sheets: 2
Goals Allowed Per Game: 1.0
Total Shots: 120
Shots on Target: 51
Players to Watch: Bethany Balcer: 3 goals; Jess Fishlock: 2 goals; Casey Murphy: 13 saves, 3 goals against, 1 clean sheet
Reign FC had a slow start in 2019, with three draws and a loss through their first four games, only picking up their first win against Sky Blue FC on May 18. They have yet to lose a game since April 28 against Chicago, a 3-0 in Bridgeville, Illinois, and they are now on a six-game streak without a loss. That’s been quite an improvement for Vlatko Andonovski’s team. Like Harvey, Andonovski believes in his young players and has placed a lot of confidence in them as internationals Megan Rapinoe (USA), Allie Long (USA), Celia Jimenez Delgado (ESP), Steph Catley (AUS), Elise Kellond-Knight (AUS), Jodie Taylor (ENG), Lydia Williams (AUS), Rumi Utsugi (JPN) have all been away at the Women’s World Cup.
Reign FC Injury Report
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Megan Rapinoe (USA), Allie Long (USA), Celia Jimenez Delgado (ESP), Steph Catley (AUS), Elise Kellond-Knight (AUS), Jodie Taylor (ENG), Lydia Williams (AUS), Rumi Utsugi (JPN)
For Utah, a win or draw only means going on up
Utah Royals FC is holding that number two spot in the standings with 17 points, just one point behind Washington. With five wins, two draws, and two losses, Utah continues to stay in contention and comes into this game vs. Reign FC as team who will indeed challenge the Tacoma-based team’s streak. They’ll likely have to go again without Vero Boquete this week who is questionable with the ankle injury she suffered two weeks ago vs. Sky Blue, which is still a huge hit to Utah’s midfield and hurts Utah’s build-up. But if Utah can get past Reign FC, holding them to a draw or getting the three big points, Royals FC will continue to set themselves up for a stronger second half of the season, especially as it gets its international players back from the World Cup.
Clean Sheets: 6
Goals Allowed Per Game: 0.6
Total Shots: 78
Shots on Target: 38
Goals Scored: 9
Keys to winning:
- Veterans lead the way. Amy Rodriguez has been Utah’s most consistent player on the attack since Christen Press left for international duty. With five goals in seven games, she’s Utah’s leading scorer and second in the league. Nicole Barnhart has six clean sheets and 23 saves, and she is one of the major reasons Utah has seen success this year.
- Don’t be afraid to press. One of Utah’s problems is the lack of going forward, that may be a tactical deal, or they just don’t have the personnel besides A-Rod, but URFC is not a one woman team.
Prediction: Utah Royals FC win, 120
Utah Injury Report
OUT: Brittany Ratcliffe (SEI Left Knee), Taylor Lytle (SEI Left Foot), Madeline Nolf (Left Hip)
QUESTIONABLE: Veronica Boquete (Right Ankle)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Katie Bowen (NZL), Rachel Corsie (SCO), Desiree Scott (CAN), Kelley O’Hara (USA), Christen Press (USA), Becky Sauerbrunn (USA)