The Royals are back in action at Providence Park this Friday, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. Utah Royals are coming off a 1-0 win against Sky Blue FC on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium. Amy Rodriguez blasted the match winner beyond Haracic in the 16th minute. The goal also won NWSL Goal of the Week. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart kept the Royals lead through the remaining 74 minutes with five saves. The win brought the Royals to 4-1-0 at RioT this season. Rodriguez’s goal brought her to five on the season, second-most in the league. The Royals sit in second place in the NWSL with a record of 5-2-1 and 16 points.
2. The Royals are 0-2-1 against Portland all-time, the draw came in their first-ever match on April 28, 2018 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Royals faced Portland on the road twice last year but Friday’s match will be their first at Providence Park, where construction was completed just a couple weeks ago. The remaining two matches against Portland will take place at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 19 and September 6. The Royals are still missing Desiree Scott (Canada), Kelley O’Hara (USA), Becky Sauerbrunn (USA), and Christen Press (USA) to the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. Katie Bowen (New Zealand) and Rachel Corsie’s (Scotland) time in France has come to end and they will return to Utah in the next few days. Lo’eau LaBonta missed Utah’s last two matches to a suspension but will be available for Friday’s match.
3. Portland Thorns sit in the third place in the NWSL with a record of 4-3-1 and 13 points. Thorns are coming off a 1-1 draw at North Carolina, the first time those two teams played since the NWSL Championship last September when Courage took home the trophy with a 3-0 win. Portland Thorns have played just one match, a 3-0 win against Chicago, at Providence Park this season due to renovations being made to the stadium. Midge Purce leads Portland with four goals, while Christine Sinclair and Caitlin Foord sit on three goals and one assist each. The Thorns are missing quite a few players to the World Cup as well: Ellie Carpenter (Australia), Caitlin Foord (Australia), Andressinha (Brazil), Christine Sinclair (Canada), Adrianna Franch (USA), Emily Sonnett (USA, Lindsey Horan (USA), and Tobin Heath (USA).
Our coverage of Utah Royals at Portland Thorns begins on Friday, June 21 at 9 PM with Carla Haslam and Krista Blunk.