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Match preview: Utah Royals FC host OL Reign

URFC returns to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time in 2020.

Soccer: NWSL Challenge Cup-Houston Dash vs Utah Royals FC Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Match Details

Utah Royals FC (0-1-0)
vs. OL Reign FC (0-0-0)

When: Saturday, September 26 | 1:30 PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium | Sandy, UT

Live Stream: CBS All-Access

Utah vs. OL Reign 2020 meetings: 1

  • Wednesday, July 8 - Reign, 1; Utah, 0

All-Time Series Record: 1-5-1

A time to refocus

It’s time to refocus for Utah Royals FC. The team played its first NWSL Fall Series game without its head coach. On Sunday, right before the game, we learned that assistant coach Amy LePeilbet was now the interim coach because Craig Harrington, Utah Royals FC coach, is on administrative leave of absence, as is assistant coach Louis Lancaster. There’s been no news on Harrington since then, but unless the investigation finds no fault in Harrington’s behavior of making multiple inappropriate comments of a sexual nature to staff, we might have seen the last of Harrington as head coach.

The players may be professionals, but dealing with the continuing unrest and turmoil with the organization will eventually get to players, especially when it affects the team directly. Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Portland Thorns FC at Providence Park may have been the result of the ongoing issues, but the team now has a chance to start anew under interim head coach Amy LePeilbet. So far, LePeilbet has brought positivity to the team and an environment staff and players have enjoyed as they prepared for game two against OL Reign.

Saturday will mark the second time Utah has faced OL Reign in 2020, having played to a 1-0 loss during the NWSL Challenge Cup in July. URFC has a 1-5-1 record against the Reign. Saturday will also mark the first time in nearly a year that the club plays at Rio Tinto Stadium in front of fans. Royals FC is one of the two teams in the league that will allow fans to watch games (the other is the Houston Dash). Utah’s capacity for home game is 5,000 fans. Whether they will reach capacity will be known tomorrow.

The return to the RioT will be the first time Elizabeth Ball, Aminata Diallo, Kate Del Fava, Tziarra King, Taylor Leach, Arielle Ship, Chestly Strother and Michele Vasconcelos take the pitch at their home field. All players, except Vasconcelos who was traded recently from Chicago, were acquired prior to the 2020 season.

The return to the RioT with LePeilbet leading the team may just be what the team needs during these times.

Utah Royals FC Injury Report

OUT: Desiree Scott (Opt Out), Diana Matheson (Opt Out), Kelley O’Hara (Opt Out), Gunny Jonsdottir (Loan), Rachel Corsie (Loan), Nicole Barnhart (Left Achilles)

Questionable: Abby Smith (Left Knee)