Utah Royals FC headed to Orlando for the first time since their inaugural season opener last year. The drama of this one started before the whistle ever blew, with goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris being a last minute scratch to the Pride starting 11 due to an injury in warmups.
Orlando, coming off a three-game week, was quick on the press from the start of the match, but was still unable to get much of an attack going. Orlando had just two shots on goal in the first half.
Utah dominated possession early on despite Orlando was pressing strongly. Despite Orlando’s best efforts, Utah was able to find an early goal once again. Scoring her first of the season, Christen Press took a shot at the top of the 18 yard box to beat last-minute addition goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer.
Orlando defender Alanna Kennedy was shown yellow in the 41’ for a foul which resulted in a Utah free kick, though nothing more would come of that. Going into the half, Utah lead the Pride 1-0.
Coming out of halftime URFC subbed on Katie Stengel for Michelle Maemone. Pride came out strong in the second half again, pressing Utah quickly once again.
Utah made their second sub of the night in the 57th minute, bringing off Lo’eau Labonta for Kelley O’Hara. Orlando would have their first sub shortly after in the 59th minute as they subbed off Rachel Hill for Camila.
The majority of the second half was pretty back and forth from Utah and Orlando, with both teams having their fair share of chances but no one was able to find the back of the net. Orlando looked far better in the second half than they did in the first, but regardless were unable to break through Utah’s brick wall of a backline. Orlando’s best opportunity came in the 86’ after a foul from Katie Bowen on Marta at the top of the box. Bowen was shown yellow but Orlando was unable to capitalize on this opportunity.
This match ended 1-0 giving Utah their second win and shutout in two matches in 2019. Utah plays their next match May 3 at home against the Chicago Red Stars.