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Back to the RioT: Utah Royals FC vs. Sky Blue FC match preview

Utah Royals FC return to Rio Tinto Stadium for this midweek matchup, hosting Sky Blue FC.

Caitlin Buckley | RSL Soapbox

Match Details

Utah Royals FC (5-6-3)
@ Sky Blue FC (2-10-3)

When: Wednesday, August 7, 2019 | 8:00 PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium | Sandy, UT

  • Weather: 85 degrees, cloudy

Live Stream: Yahoo Sports app & KSL app

Radio: ESPN 700

Tickets: Buy now

It’s been back-to-back losses for Utah Royals FC, thanks to North Carolina and Chicago. It may be time to panic. May be. Some may say that Utah is mathematically out of the running for the playoffs. Nah. They still gotta play some games, and a midweek game against Sky Blue FC may just be what helps Royals FC get back in the running.

Utah vs. Sky Blue FC 2019 meetings: 2
-June 15, 2019 @ Rio Tinto Stadium. Score, 1-0 Utah
-July 12, 2019 @ Sky Blue FC. Score: 1-0, Sky Blue FC

All-Time Series Record: 3-1-1

For Utah Royals FC, a must win here. Like for real.

In the last six games, Utah has composed a record of zero wins, two draws, and four losses. Once the top team in the NWSL, Utah is in seventh place. That’s ten points away from first place North Carolina Courage and five from fourth place. With each game that Utah fails to pick up a point, that gap gets wider. Should they continue on this winless streak, a six-game winless one, Utah can forget playing another game or two after the regular NWSL season wraps up.

URFC could catch a bit of break against Sky Blue FC, a team who has not won a game since July 12 when they beat Utah 1-0. It was Utah’s first-ever loss to the New Jersey-based team. The good news for Utah is that Christen Press will be available as will Becky Sauerbrunn. The return of Press and Sauerbrunn will give Utah a stronger line up. Kelley O’Hara is listed as questionable due to an ankle injury she suffered in the USWNT Victory Tour last Saturday.

URFC Stats

Clean Sheets: 6
Goals Conceded: 14
Goals Allowed Per Game: 1.0
Total Shots: 123
Shots on Target: 57
Goals Scored: 11
Leading scorer: Amy Rodriguez - 5 goals

Keys to winning:

  • A stronger attack. Christen Press and Amy Rodriguez do make a dangerous duo. Sometimes, though, they tend to overshadow one another instead of working together. To be fair, they have have not had many games together; Press has only played four games all season due to the World Cup. If they can assist one another and look for each other, the final third would be more favorable.
  • Give the ball to Christen Press. All I’m saying is she can score goals, y’all. She has three goals in four games.

Utah Royals FC Injury Report

OUT: Brittany Ratcliffe (SEI-Left knee), Taylor Lytle (SEI-Left foot), Becca Moros (Right Leg)

QUESTIONABLE: Mandy Laddish (Concussion), Kelley O’Hara (Left Ankle)

Sky Blue FC woes

Record: 2-10-3 (9 points, 9th place)
Head Coach: Vacant
Clean Sheets: 2
Goals Conceded: 19
Goals per game: 1.3
Total Shots: 128
Shots on Target: 42

Players to Watch: Sarah Killion - 1 goal, 2 assists;
Kailen Sheridan -41 saves, 10 goals against, 2 clean sheets

For another year, Sky Blue FC looks to finish at the bottom of the table. The New Jersey-based team is like the Bad News Bears - firing their coach, multiple injuries, losing 10 games. But last week, they showed their resiliency against Portland Thorns FC at Providence Park, holding them to a 1-1 draw. They have also put a dent in Utah’s season the last time they met on July 12. In the final minutes, Jen Hoy found the back of the net to give the Sky Blue FC a 1-0 victory at Yurcak Field, their second one of the season.

Sky Blue FC Injury Report

OUT: Mandy Freeman (Right Achilles Tendon Repair), Madison Tiernan (Left ACL/MCL Sprain)

QUESTIONABLE: Domi Richardson (Left Ankle), Nahomi Kawasumi (Left Knee), Gina Lewandowski (Left Foot)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Raquel Rodriguez (CRC)

Prediction

URFC is back at the RioT. Christen Press and Becky Sauerbunn will be in the starting XI. All can be well again. Utah wins this one, 2-0. If not...the world may end.