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To the Windy City: Utah Royals FC @ Chicago Red Stars match preview

It’s a new week. A new opportunity. No longer surrounded by the mountains, Utah Royals FC travels to the Windy City to play the Chicago Red Stars.

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Match Details

Utah Royals FC (5-5-3)
@ Chicago Red Stars (7-5-2)

When: Saturday, August 3, 2019 | 6:00 PM MT

Where: SeatGeek Stadium | Bridgeview, Ill

Weather: 80 degrees, sunny

Live Stream: Yahoo Sports app & KSL app

TV: KMYU (Delayed start at 10:30 p.m. MT)

Radio: ESPN 700

Alright, fam. We can’t dwell on the past. We gotta move on from that North Carolina Courage 2-1 loss last week. Utah Royals FC now turn all their attention to the Chicago Red Stars, and well, it ain’t gonna be an easy one, we know this. With U.S. National Team members Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Christen Press in California for the Victory Tour, head coach Laura Harvey will have to turn to her bench to fill those roles.

Not ideal, but when a federation doesn’t appear to care about the domestic league....*sigh*...such the deal it is, but that’s another story for another day. Let’s get back to what you need to know about the upcoming game.

Utah vs. Chicago 2019 meetings: 1 - May 3, 2019. Rio Tinto Stadium.
Score: 1-0, Utah

All-Time Series Record: 2-2-0

For Utah Royals FC, a must win here

We might have been saying this lately, but Utah is in a pickle. The last five games, Utah has composed a record of zero wins, two draws, and three losses. Once the top team in the NWSL, Utah is now in seventh place. That’s eight points away from first place Portland Thorns, and three from fourth place. It’s not the end of the world, obviously, but Utah has enough talent to be a better team, and last week vs. the Courage, they did not look like a team that should be in contention.

The NWSL season is down to the last two months, about 10 games. Much can and will be decided in this last stretch, but Utah cannot afford another setback. And if they want to climb those standings again, they need to play like they want to win. Simple, huh?

URFC Stats

Clean Sheets: 6
Goals Conceded: 12
Goals Allowed Per Game: 0.9
Total Shots: 114
Shots on Target: 55
Goals Scored: 11
Leading scorer: Amy Rodriguez - 5 goals

Keys to winning:

  • Where A-Rod at? Amy Rodriguez has gone the past five games without scoring a goal. At one point, from May 3 to June 15, she was scoring a goal pretty much every game. With Christen Press away on international duty (again), Utah needs A-Rod to play like the A-Rod who was scoring game-winners.
  • Limit mistakes. Goals against North Carolina last week all came because of poor defensive decisions, and hey, that happens in the game of football, but as stated earlier, Utah is far too talented to make decisions that they can’t recover from, like giving a player too much time on the ball and giving the ball away too much in their own half.

Utah Royals FC Injury Report

OUT: FW Brittany Ratcliffe (SEI-Left knee), DF Taylor Lytle (SEI-Left foot), MF Mandy Laddish (Concussion), DF Becca Moros (Right Leg)

QUESTIONABLE: None

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Becky Sauerbrunn (USA), Kelley O’Hara (USA), Christen Press (USA

Chicago Red Stars are cruisin’

Record: 7-5-2 (23 points, 3rd place)
Head Coach: Rory Dames
Clean Sheets: 3
Goals Conceded: 19
Goals per game: 1.4
Total Shots: 162
Shots on Target: 78

Players to Watch: Sam Kerr - 11 goals, 2 assists; Yuki Nagasato - 4 goals, 4 assists

Chicago may be the team to beat right now. With major wins over North Carolina Courage (2-1) and Reign FC (4-0), the Red Stars are starting to show glimpses of a team likely to contend for the NWSL Championship, especially with the return of their international World Cup stars. Coming into this matchup vs. Utah, Chicago is on a three-game winning streak. The good news for Utah? Chicago will be without Julie Ertz and Alyssa Naeher, who are also with the U.S. National Team. The bad news? Sam Kerr, the current NWSL leading scorer, will start tomorrow, and ever since Kerr returned from the World Cup, she is showing why she may be the best player in the world. Kerr has scored five goals since her return on June 30.

Chicago Red Stars Injury Report

OUT: Alyssa Mautz (Right Knee), AJ Jahansouz (Right Knee), Michele Vasconcelos (Left Knee)

QUESTIONABLE: Danielle Colaprico (Left Knee)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Morgan Brian (USA), Tierna Davidson (USA), Julie Ertz (USA), Alyssa Naeher (USA), Maria Sanchez (MEX)

Prediction

Chicago is good. Sam Kerr is good. Any team with Sam Kerr is naturally going to shake the knees a bit. I’m hoping head coach Laura Harvey has a game plan that has fixed everything that made us shake our heads over the last few weeks, and that’s where I’m hopeful, and because I’m a person who believes in hope, I’ll say Utah Royals FC somehow, someway leave Chicago with three points. Utah wins 1-0.