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The last one: Utah Royals FC vs. Houston Dash match preview

Utah Royals FC wrap up the 2019 NWSL season at the RioT.

Nikita Taparia

Match Details

Utah Royals FC (9-10-4)
vs. Houston Dash (7-11-5)

When: Saturday, October 12| 7:00 PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium | Sandy, UT

Weather: 55 degrees, sunny

Live Stream: Yahoo Sports app, KSL app, NWSLSoccer.com

Radio: ESPN 700

Tickets: Buy Now

It ends where it started. Utah Royals FC wrap up the 2019 NWSL season at the RioT. Back in April, there was much anticipation for the start of Utah’s 2nd second season. Six months later, there is disappointment as URFC failed to reach the playoffs again. We can talk about what went wrong and analyze falling short again. That may come in the next few weeks. For now, the focus is to finish strong against the Houston Dash, a team who have already defeated URFC twice this season and look to sweep the season series. Both games ended 2-1 in favor of the Dash.

Utah vs. Houston Dash 2019 meetings: 2
May 11, 2019 - Rio Tinto Stadium
Houston 2; URFC 1
September 13, 2019 - BBVA Stadium
Houston 2; URFC 1

All-Time Series Record: 2-2-1

For Utah, finish strong

Utah enters Saturday’s game on a four-game losing note, all of which ended Utah’s playoff hopes. It started against the Houston Dash, continued with Reign FC, then North Carolina Courage, and finally with the Chicago Red Stars. With one final game left, Utah’s goal is simply to finish with a win for the year.

Saturday’s game will mark the third time URFC and the Dash have faced one another this year. In the previous two meetings, the Dash have defeated Royals FC on both occasions by a score of 2-1. URFC enters Saturday’s match with a 2-2-1 (7 points) all-time record against Houston Dash.

URFC Stats

Clean Sheets: 10
Goals Conceded: 24
Goals Conceded (per game): 1.0
Total Shots: 222
Shots on Target: 111
Goals Scored: 23
Leading scorers: Amy Rodriguez - 8 goals; Christen Press - 7 goals

Keys to winning:

  • Solid game from Barnhart. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart leads the league in shutouts with 10. She has shown all season why she remains one of the best goalkeepers ever. She’s had a rough few weeks, but should she collect another shutout for the season, she will tie for the most single-season shutouts with 11. Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch currently holds the title. Barnart set the record in 2014 on the way to the NWSL Championship with FC Kansas City.
  • The power of Press. Christen Press has seven goals for the season, one goal behind Amy Rodriguez, with two assists. We have seen all season the impact Press can make in a game. It’s not just scoring goals either. Press can attract defenders that allow for her teammates to be open; she has the speed and talent to be a game-changer. URFC is more than one player, but when Press has a good game, Utah usually wins.

Utah Royals FC Injury Report

OUT: Brittany Ratcliffe (SEI – Left Knee), Taylor Lytle (SEI – Left Foot), Kelley O’Hara (Left Ankle), Mandy Laddish (Right Hip), Becca Moros (Right Leg), Sydney Miramontez (Right Foot)

QUESTIONABLE: Makenzy Doniak (Left Foot)

Houston Dash also want to finish strong

Record: 7-11-5 (26 points, 7th place)
Head Coach: James Clarkson
Clean Sheets: 6
Goals Conceded: 34
Goals Conceded (per game): 1.5
Total Shots: 220
Shots on Target: 100
Goals Scored: 20

Players to Watch: Rachel Daly - 5 goals, 1 assist; Sofia Huerta - 3 goals, 3 assists;
Kristie Mewis - 3 goals, 1 assist;
Jane Campbell: 66 saves, 34 goals against, 6 clean sheets

Since last playing Utah a month ago, Houston has not won any of their last three games. Coming into Saturday’s match, the Dash have lost two and tied one. Like Utah, missing the playoffs, the Dash are looking to finish the season on a winning note.

Houston Dash Injury Report

OUT: Veronica Latdko (Left Knee – SEI), Kayla McCoy (Left Knee -SEI), Nichelle Prince (Right Knee – SEI)

QUESTIONABLE: Allysha Chapman (Left Thigh)

Prediction

It’s the last game of the season at Rio Tinto Stadium. Utah with a 1-0 win.