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Tactical Preview: Utah Royals FC vs Seattle Reign

How will Laura Harvey and the Royals fare against Reign FC in Harvey’s first trip back to Seattle?

Nikita Taparia

After a rough game on Wednesday, Utah Royals FC will be looking forward to the short turnaround to this game tonight as a quick opportunity to get back to the basics and erase their memories. What kind of tactical approach will Laura Harvey take with her team in her first return to Seattle? Let’s talk about a few points!

Utah Royals FC

URFC have a bit of a tough go tonight. Not only do they have to try and have a short memory after their last game, they will also have to play the second game of a road trip on a short turnaround. They will also have to play this game without two near constant players, Diana Matheson and Becky Sauerbrunn. Matheson was suspended one game by the NWSL disciplinary committee for a bad tackle in the Portland game, and Sauerbrunn came up with an injury following the match. My guess is that we see Samatha Johnson take Sauerbrunn’s place, and Brittany Ratcliffe come in for Diana Matheson.

After the 4-0 loss to Portland on Saturday, Laura Harvey is definitely going to want the team to focus on the basics. Defending first is going to be important, with scoring coming second. I expect to see the team be well organized in their defensive shell, and then try to break on the counter when the opportunities arise.

Seattle Reign

Seattle come into this match currently sitting in second place in the league, having earned 26 points on a 7-3-5 overall record. Their last game on Saturday concluded in a 3-1 win for them over the Houston Dash. Through 15 games, the Reign have scored 18 goals while conceding 13. Reign forwards Rapinoe and Taylor have combined for 11 of those 18 goals, so they are definitely the players to watch.

The Reign typically play in a 4-2-3-1 formation, and do a very good job in keeping possession and controlling the tempo of the game. In their last game against Houston, they held just under 60% of the total possession. It will be key for the Royals to be disruptive in the midfield if they want to get a result from this game.

Injury Update (via NWSLSoccer.com)

Seattle Reign FC

OUT: Yael Averbuch (illness), Kiersten Dallstream (left quad strain)

QUESTIONABLE: Elizabeth Addo (left knee sprain), Jess Fishlock (right quad strain) Rumi Utsugi (left calf strain)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Utah Royals FC

OUT: Alex Arlitt (left knee strain – SEI), Makenzy Doniak (left knee ACL tear – SEI), Mandy Laddish (right hip contusion – SEI), Kelley O’Hara (right hamstring strain), Becky Sauerbrunn (left tibial stress reaction)

QUESTIONABLE: None

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Expected Lineup

GK: Smith

DF: Bowen, Corsie, Johnson, Moros

MF: Ratcliffe, Scott, Jonsdottir, Gorry

FW: Rodriguez, Press

Royals’ keys to the match

  1. Stay compact and organized defensively. Getting back to basics is key after a blowout loss, which is exactly what the Royals need. If they are able to stay organized, they may be able to eke out a result.
  2. Be disruptive in midfield and spring quick counterattacks. If the URFC midfield, particularly Desiree Scott, can be disruptive and secure a few good turnovers, they will have to opportunity to spring quick counterattacks and get good opportunities to score.