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The one to air on ESPN: Utah Royals FC vs. North Carolina Courage match preview

North Carolina Courage visit Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time in 2019 for a nationally-televised matchup.

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Match Details

Utah Royals FC (5-4-3) vs. North Carolina Courage (6-3-4)

When: Saturday, July 27, 2019 | 8:00 PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium | Sandy, UT

Weather: 86 degrees, partly cloudy

TV: ESPNEWS

Live Stream: ESPN+

Radio: ESPN 700

Tickets: Buy now

After weeks of playing on a Friday evening, Utah Royals FC host the defending NWSL Champions North Carolina Courage at Rio Tinto Stadium tonight in a nationally broadcast match on ESPNEWS. It’s the second meeting of 2019 for both teams. The last time they met in May in Cary, the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Here’s all you need to know.

2019 meetings: 1, May 19, 2019. Cary, NC.
Score: 1-1

All-Time Series Record: 1-0-3

What’s going with THE North Carolina Courage?

Record: 6-3-4 (22 points, 2nd place)
Head Coach: Paul Riley
Clean Sheets: 4
Goals Conceded: 14
Goals per game: 1.1
Total Shots: 190
Shots on Target: 89

Players to Watch: Lynn Williams - 6 goals, 4 assists; Jaelene Hinkle - 4 assists; Merritt Mathias - 4 assists,

Well, the good news for Utah is that North Carolina is coming off a two-game losing streak. Say whhhaa—?! True story. First, a 2-0 loss to Reign FC and then a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Red Stars. Like Utah, the Courage have had continuous changes in personnel with their international players at the World Cup. But now they’re all back, so that is a bit of bad news for Royals FC is that North Carolina has reintegrated Sam Mewis, Abby Dahlkemper, and Jess McDonald.

For more on the North Carolina Courage, read our Three Questions with Aaron Bellamy of Dirty South Soccer.

North Carolina Courage Injury Report

OUT: Hailey Harbison (Left Knee), Ryan Williams (Right Ankle)

QUESTIONABLE: Lynn Williams (Right Thigh), Leah Pruitt (Right Knee)

The last time we saw Utah Royals FC...

They took us on a rollercoaster ride. Remember that game against Portland last week? It looked like Portland was gonna get the best of Utah again, but then, Rachel Corsie came through in the closing minutes of the game for a 2-2 draw. Phew! It was a close one. It’s the momentum Utah needs to continue this week. At this point in the season, losing is out of the question. Every point matters, and that one point they picked up against Portland was greatly needed. But now, Utah needs to move beyond those draws. Three points versus the Courage won’t be easy, but Utah tends to play well against North Carolina and have yet to lose against the Courage in all of their meetings. Utah should get a massive boost in the creative midfield with the return of Vero Boquete, who is no longer on the injury list. Hooray!

URFC Stats

Clean Sheets: 6
Goals Conceded: 10
Goals Allowed Per Game: 0.8
Total Shots: 102
Shots on Target: 48
Goals Scored: 10
Leading scorer: Amy Rodriguez - 5 goals

Keys to winning:

  • Christen Press. Give the ball to Christen Press.
  • Control the game. Head Coach Laura Harvey seems to have figured out Paul Riley’s game plan because she has a pretty good record against the Courage the last two seasons. That’s one win in 2018 (no other team achieved that) and three draws. Zero losses. Much of that is Utah’s ability to control the game against North Carolina, even as the Courage send everything they can with their high press style of play.

Prediction: Utah Royals FC win, 1-0

Utah Royals FC Injury Report

OUT: Brittany Ratcliffe (SEI-Left Knee), DF Taylor Lytle (SEI-Left Foot), Mandy Laddish (Concussion), Becca Moros (Right Leg)

QUESTIONABLE: None