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URFC Historical Moments, #9: Press impressed in 2019

Even with time at the World Cup, Press solidified her place as one Utah’ best strikers in 2019.

Cindy Lara Photos | 2019

When Christen Press was traded to Utah Royals FC in 2018, she joined mid-season, appearing in 11 games and scoring 2 goals. Stats-wise and Royals FC missing the playoffs, it left many fans wondering if the trade had been worth it (think Utah giving up a ton of draft picks to the Chicago Red Stars).

Then, came 2019.

At the season and home opener, Press began the 2019 NWSL season with an assist to Lo’eau LaBonta’s goal in the 1–0 vs. the Washington Spirit. In the second game of the season, Press scored the only goal in the 1–0 Royals victory over the Orlando Pride. With her leading the Utah offense, Press was named to the NWSL Team of the Month for April.

With the 2019 World Cup and Victory Tour after, Press missed 10 Utah games during the season, but when she returned, she helped a team struggling to score goals and stay in the playoff race. As the season headed into the final third of the season, Utah was dangerously close to being eliminated. But something happened in August, it’s as if the team realized that they needed to step it up and continue fighting to save their season. They did, beginning with a 3-0 win versus Sky Blue FC, with Press scoring a brace. Royals FC went on a five-game unbeaten streak, in part due to Press’ influence in the team, which kept them in contention for the race for the postseason, reaching the fourth place spot in the NWSL standings. It all came to a halt in a 2-1 loss against Houston, a major setback for a team who was desperate to reach the playoffs.

Despite the Royals missing the playoffs that season, when Press played for Utah Royals FC in 2019, it was obvious she was one of the most important players to her team in the league. Press finished second on the team in scoring with 8 goals and was named to the end of season NWSL Best XI, her fourth time being named to the Best XI.