The Utah Royals are headed to Illinois to play the Red Stars in the last of their four-match road trip, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. The Royals are coming off a massive win in North Carolina, where they handed the Courage their first loss of the season. Brittany Ratcliffe’s stunning goal in the last minute of stoppage time stole all three points and NWSL Goal of the Week honors. The victory in N.C. lifted the Royals to 4th place in the NWSL at 4-5-2 overall and 2-1-3 on the road. Utah has taken nine points in their last four matches.
— NWSL (@NWSL) June 19, 2018
Head Coach Laura Harvey said earlier this week that she feels the team is moving in the right direction but doesn’t expect the match in Chicago to be much different his time around:
2. Utah announced earlier this week that they were part of a three-team trade which saw numerous draft picks and Royals defender Brooke Elby traded to Chicago Red Stars in exchange for defender Samantha Johnson and the rights to Christen Press, who was playing in Sweden with Göteborg FC. Harvey said she expects both players to be in Utah by the end of the week, but neither will feature in Chicago per a gentleman’s agreement with Red Stars head coach Rory Dames. The Royals also announced this week that they have waived Maegan Kelly and 2018 NWSL draft pick EJ Proctor.
It’s a vibe 🎉 pic.twitter.com/KMGQ6gvy5p
— Utah Royals FC (@UtahRoyalsFC) June 18, 2018
3. Chicago spoiled the Royals’ inaugural home opener back on April 14th after Danielle Colaprico scored in the 27th minute to take the 1-0 lead, handing Utah their first loss of the season. The Red Stars are coming off a 1-1 draw at home against Portland and have only won one match in their last nine. The draw against Thorns last weekend brought Chicago’s home record to 1-3-3, their lone win back on April 18th when they beat the Houston Dash 3-0. Along with trades made earlier this week, which saw Chicago midfielders Sofia Huerta and Taylor Comeau go to the Dash, Chicago announced the signing of USWNT member Morgan Brian, who spent the first half of the season with Olympique Lyonnais in France. Sam Kerr leads the Red Stars with 5 goals on the season, followed by Alyssa Muatz with 3 goals and 2 assists, and Yuki Nagasto with 2 goals and 2 assists.
Our coverage of Utah Royals at Chicago Red Stars kicks off on Saturday, June 23rd at 6 P.M. on ESPN700 with Greg Wrubell and Carla Swensen-Haslam.