Utah had their first of three matches in eight days tonight as they took on league leaders the North Carolina Courage at home. Going in to this one, it was unknown whether Christen Press and Vero Boquete would be healthy enough to play. Ultimately, Press would make the starting 11, but Boquete would be rested, and Gunny Jonsdottir would start in her place.
Right out the gate, Royals midfielder Mallory Weber bodied the ball out of bounds, causing Utah to concede a corner. Things from there went pretty back and forth for these two teams, with both URFC and the Courage getting shots in the opening 15 minutes.
Despite their best efforts and relatively successful attempts at defending the Courage, URFC captain Becky Sauerbrunn would concede a PK. The Courage’s Sam Mewis would put away the penalty attempt to give the Courage the 1-0 lead in the 30th minute.
From there things continued to be back and forth for these teams, though, the Courage’s Denise O’Sullivan was shown yellow for a bad tackle in the 35th minute.
The remainder of the half was relatively uneventful, but the Courage were able to get a few more looks on goal. Regardless, the match headed into half 1-0 in favor of North Carolina.
Shortly after the half, URFC made their first sub bringing off Katie Stengel for Vero Boquete in the 53’.
Just minutes later the Courage subbed in Crystal Dunn for McCall Zerboni in the 59th.
In the 65th minute, the Courage would find their second of the evening thanks to Jaelene Hinkle to make it 2-0. Then, just minutes later once again, the Courage would find the back of the net to make it 3. This time, it was Debinha with the goal in the 70th.
North Carolina nearly found their fourth in the 76th minute, but the shot went into the side netting. Moments later, Utah made their second sub to bring on Erika Tymrak for Lo’eau LaBonta. Then in the 79th minute, the Courage made their final sub to bring on Cari Roccaro for Debinha.
Neither team was truly dominant for the next stretch of this match until Dunn sent a shot in that was saved by Barnhart in the 87th minute. Shortly after, Utah made their final sub to bring on Raisa Strom-Okimoto for Christen Press.
This match would end 3-0 in favor of the visitors after 90 minutes despite a flurry of attempts by Utah Royals FC in the dying moments.
Utah’s next match will be their rescheduled match against Reign FC on Wednesday, September 25th at 8 PM MST.