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Friday night Rio Tinto lights: Utah Royals FC vs. Reign FC match preview

Utah Royals FC return to Rio Tinto Stadium to host Reign FC on Pride Night.

Cindy Lara | RSL Soapbox

Match Details

Utah Royals FC (5-2-2) vs. Reign FC (3-1-5)

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 Injury Report

OUT: Taylor Smith (SEI Knee), Jasmyne Spencer (SEI Knee), Michelle Betos (SEI Achilles), Jaycie Johnson (SEI Knee), Scout Watson (Concussion), Kristen McNabb (Calf), Morgan Andrews (Hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE: None

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.

URFC Stats

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)