This week, Utah Royals FC headed to Exploria Stadium for the final time this season to play the Orlando Pride. Matches against the Pride always sting a little bit for Utah fans because of the controversial PK call that ruined their first-ever match, causing them to draw in Orlando despite scoring early. Utah still has the upper hand in this series, however, with two wins, two draws and one loss in its short history.
Utah started the same lineup for the third consecutive match this week. After scoring six goals and getting two wins in the two games prior, it made sense not to change what was working. Heading into this match a win against Orlando could put them in fourth place, putting them back in a playoff spot.
Right off the bat, Utah was put on their back foot. Within the first three minutes, Orlando was able to earn a corner and put a shot off the crossbar.
Things settled down from there, and Utah was able to find their feet. In the 10th minute, Utah would get their first corner after Weber sent a square ball into Katie Stengel that was ultimately cleared by Orlando and gave them their corner. The corner wouldn’t result in a goal but was a great look for Utah.
Following a defensive scare from an error by Rachel Corsie, Utah ran the ball downfield and Press got a shot off at the near post only to be saved by Ashlyn Harris.
Early in the first half Weber served in multiple balls to the box that created impressive looks. Weber and Press’ combinations made Orlando’s backline work tirelessly.
In the 27th minute, Amy Rodriguez was able to get a shot, again thanks to Weber and Press’ link up play. Rodriguez’s shot went high, though.
In the 29th, Rodriguez hit a rocket off the near post, just to have Katie Stengel shoot it right at Harris.
In the 35th minute, Ubogagu created the Pride’s best chance of the night, but Barnhart was able to come up huge and make a big save to keep things level.
Headed to halftime, it was tied 0-0.
There would be no changes made coming out of halftime. Things started off a little slow, vastly different from how Utah ended the first half. The game was pretty back and forth and neither side got too good of a look.
It would take Utah until the 60th minute to find the game’s first goal. Thanks to Press escaping her mark and a nice side volley, Utah found themselves ahead. This one again was assisted by Lo’eau LaBonta. This would be Press’ 6th goal in the last seven games.
In the 64th minute, Barnhart and Emslie have a major collision at the top of the 18-yard-box. While trying to decide what to do about the collision in the box, Stengel subbed off for Gunny Jonsdottir.
After a lot of fans screaming and players arguing, nothing would come of the collision in the box and Barnhart would kick off to continue play.
In the 68’, Orlando brought on Alex Morgan for the first time since the U.S. internationals left for the World Cup. Coming off would be Obogagu.
Morgan coming on gave the Pride a little bit of power, but Rodriguez was quick to take that away from them. Rodriguez made up for her missed attempt earlier scoring the second on the night thanks for an assist from Vero Boquete.
In the 87th minute, Makenzy Doniak came on for Christen Press. Then in the 91st minute, Utah made their final sub to bring on Erika Tymrak for Rodriguez.
This one would end 2-0 in favor of Utah to give Utah 9 points in their last 3 games. Their next match will be at the Washington Spirit on Wednesday at 5:30 PM.