Utah Royals FC head to Chicago for the first time in their 2019 campaign. The last time these two teams met on May 3 it was at Rio a Tinto, and URFC got a 1-0 win. Similar to their last meeting, both these teams were without their US international players due to the U.S. National Team’s World Cup Victory Tour.
Utah started off the game well enough. URFC got a good look just two minutes in off a ball from Lo’eau LaBonta, but they were unable to capitalize.
From there, it would take just minutes for Chicago to find the game’s first goal. Off a counter attack, Chicago’s Sam Kerr took a shot at Nicole Barnhart. She was able to stop the initial shot, but Kerr capitalized on Barnhart’s spilled ball.
After this goal, Utah began having to chase the game. For the majority of the first half, URFC was struggling to connect passes. Though still finding decent time in their offensive third, they were unable to get a shot on goal despite having 54% of the possession.
The highlights of this first half from Utah were largely off LaBonta taken corner kicks that created decent chances for Utah. Overall though, the first half wasn’t great. The team was playing somewhat slow and without too much urgency despite being down. They kept themselves in it going into half, being down just one goal, but the second half was not going to be easy.
Coming out of the second half, Utah was struggling to get their groove. They were only able to get one shot on goal in the first 25 minutes of the second half. Luckily, thanks to some Barnhart heroics, this match remained just 1-0 and didn’t get any worse.
Utah waited until the 72’ to make their first sub bringing off Katie Bowen for Makenzy Doniak. Then just moments later, the first disciplinary action was taken against Gunny Jónsdóttir.
Utah’s second sub would be in the 76’ to bring in Erika Tymrak for LaBonta. Labonta had a decent night. Taking over for press on corners, she was able to create a few chances for Utah.
Minutes later, Chicago would make their first sub of the night to bring on former Royal Brooke Elby for Katlyn Johnson.
In the 84’, Elby scored Chicago’s second to put the final nail in the coffin for Utah. Tonight just wasn’t Utah’s night. Throughout the second half and majority of the first, the midfield seemed to struggle to connect with the attack.
In the 90’, Utah was forced to use their final sub to bring off an injured Mallory Weber. Madeline Nolf, who returned from injury to make a cameo appearance in this one, was her replacement.
Utah’s next match is back at home on Wednesday against Sky Blue FC. The match kicks off at 8 pm.