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A wild 2-2 draw splits points between Utah and Portland

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The internationals return to the RioT to draw points with Portland

Lucas Muller - RSL Soapbox

Utah Royals FC returned to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time since the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup ended. Prior to the match, Utah welcomed back all six of their international players back from World Cup action to a nearly packed stadium.

This match didn’t start off quite so smoothly for Utah. In just the first few minutes, Portland was quick on the press and already showing to be the better team. Earning a corner just minutes in, they forced Nicole Barnhart into a save.

In the 5th minute, Mandy Laddish went down with an injury. She continued to play momentarily, though after Portland broke through in the 9th minute, Utah made a sub to bring on Katie Stengel for injured Laddish.

Following the sub and Portland’s goal, Utah’s defensive issues remained. For the majority of the first half, Utah was barely able to make it out of their defensive half. They were struggling to connect passes and find the attackers. It took until the 20th minute for Utah to find a good look, a shot from Amy Rodriguez forcing Adrianna Franch into a save.

Things were pretty back and forth for Utah after that, and they were able to get a little bit more control of the hall. The last 15 minutes of the half, Utah really found their groove. In the 31st, Utah had a great attack but opted to play the ball out due to a Thorns injury.

Then just minutes later, a foul on Lo’eau Labonta lead to a couple great looks from Utah, though they were unable to capitalize this time.

It would take until the 42nd minute for Utah to break through, thanks to Christen Press’ speed and ability to control the ball at her feet. She beat Franch at the post to draw Utah back level.

Utah came out to the second half firing on all cylinders. They were quick on the attack and got multiple chances in the opening minutes. One look came from Katie Stengel as she turned at the top of the 6-yard-box and got a shot, heroically saved by Franch.

Portland made their first sub of the match bringing out Ellie Carpenter for Caitlin Foord.

The match remained incredibly back and forth until the 68’ when Utah got a handful of shots off in the span of a few minutes. In the 69’, Portland subbed off Elizabeth Ball for Emily Sonnett.

After a collision in the 73’, Gunny Jonsdottir went down with a minor injury, but she stayed in the game.

In the 77’, Utah and Portland made subs. Portland brought on Tobin Heath for Midge Purce, and Utah brought on Vero Boquete for LaBonta.

Things got pretty even between Utah and Portland again until a breakaway by Utah in the 83 minute that gave Utah two great looks.

Despite Utah being the dominate side in the latter part of the second half, Portland would find a goal in the 87th minute of this one.

Then, in the dying minute of the second half, Utah would score a second to tie this match up. The goal was scored by centerback Rachel Corsie.

After the tying goal, Royals FC made their final sub bringing off Katie Stengel for Becca Moros.

This match ended as a 2-2 draw despite an exciting final 15 minutes.