Royalty returns to Utah for a big match-up against the Thorns, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. Utah Royals is coming off their first-ever loss to Sky Blue FC last weekend. The Royals had the majority of possession but just one shot on goal throughout the 90 minutes of play to Sky Blue’s five. Jen Hoy scored in the 90’+2 to give Sky Blue the win.
With the loss, Utah Royals now has one win in their last five matches and have been held goalless in their last three (draw, loss, loss). Utah currently sits in 5th place in the NWSL with a record of 5-4-2.
2. Utah is 0-2-2 all-time against 2nd place Portland Thorns, including a 0-0 draw played just four weeks ago. With players like Utah’s Christen Press, Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn and Portland’s Lindsey Horan and Tobin Heath returning to their NWSL clubs after the Women’s World Cup, Friday’s match is a prime opportunity for the NWSL to continue riding the momentum of the World Cup.
3. Portland Thorns played to a 4-3 win in a home match against Orlando Pride on Sunday and sit in second place in the NWSL with a record of 6-2-4. Friday’s match will be a true test for Utah’s defense as they face the second-highest scoring offense with 23 goals. Midge Purce leads the Thorns with six goals, Christine Sinclair has four goals and one assist, Caitlin Foord has three goals and two assists, and Meghan Klingenberg has four assists. Portland has a road record of 4-1-3.