Historically, as the head coach of the Seattle Reign for reaching the NWSL Championship twice, Laura Harvey did not have an impressive record against the Portland Thorns (6 wins, 7 losses, 3 draws). The struggle against the Rose City team continued in 2018 and 2019 as well as her former team as Harvey moved to coach Utah Royals FC.
In 2018, Portland Thorns FC and Reign FC were the teams Utah just could not beat. Utah’s record in 2018 versus Portland came to two losses and a draw, and against Seattle, the same with two losses and a draw. With a new season in 2019, there was a chance for Utah to finally get a win against these two Pacific Northwest teams, but the first 2019 meetings against Portland resulted in draws, and Utah lost 1-0 against Reign FC.
In Utah’s mid-season surge in 2019 in August and early September, Utah was able to finally defeat these two rivals. It would be 3-1 against Reign FC first, with goals by Katie Stengel, Lo LaBonta, and Amy Rodriguez. Then, Utah was finally able defeat Portland 1-0, thanks to a goal from Becky Sauerbunn and six saves from Nicole Barnhart on a Friday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
.@beckysauerbrunn's header was— NWSL (@NWSL) September 7, 2019
And how about that ⚽️ from @ChristenPress?
1-0 | #UTAvPOR pic.twitter.com/aFRPQDrRyx
Oh, and how could we forget the altercation between Amy Rodriguez and Emily Sonnett? You know, the one where A-Rod made sure no one would ever mess with her again, not even anyone from the Thorns, including Sonnett. This altercation, the one that may show up again in our countdown tomorrow:
Friend: oh dang.— nurdee (@justnurdeee) September 7, 2019
Me: yeah..but there's more.. than she got screamed at because she tagged Amy Rodriguez. So red card.
(Once again I know, not tag)
Me: Yeah but Horan and Tobin both came swooping in to help Sonnett.
(Look at that innocent Sonnett face.) pic.twitter.com/INpxMPeZqj
Portland and the Reign gave Harvey and URFC a hard time in their quest to become one of the NWSL best teams those two seasons, but these two wins in 2019 were greatly needed, and we’ll always remember them.