The Utah Royals are off to Portland to face the Thorns this Friday for the second time in a month, here’s what you need to know:
1. The Royals have wrapped up their four-match homestand and now head out on a four-match road trip, beginning with Portland Thorns. Utah has three road draws so far this season against Orlando, Houston, and league-leaders North Carolina (who they will face again during this road trip on June 16th). The Royals took 8 of 12 possible points at home in their last four matches, including 1 point against the Portland Thorns on April 28th. Amy Rodriguez scored the Royals’ first-ever home goal in their 1-1 draw against the Thorns, but Portland’s Tobin Heath scored just 14 minutes later, the only goal Utah gave up on their homestand. Head coach Laura Harvey, who used to coach Thorns’ rivals Seattle Reign, is looking forward to returning to Portland:
2. The Royals are coming off a 1-0 win against the Houston Dash at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. Erika Tymrak got her first start of the season and the game-winner, thanks to a cross from Gunny and dummy by Rodriguez, a move that Harvey said makes “A-Rod” world class. Tymrak’s goal is the 7th Royals goal of the season, all 7 have been scored by different players.
🙌 Tymrak’s right-footed, one-time shot into the back of the net! pic.twitter.com/e2tGKaHqlM
— Utah Royals FC (@UtahRoyalsFC) May 23, 2018
The win on Saturday improved the Royals’ record to 2-5-1 and into 6th place in the NWSL.
3. The reigning NWSL Champions have a record of 3-3-3 and sit in 3rd place but are winless at home since April 15th They are just 1-1-2 at home this season, the two losses coming in their last 2 home games against Orlando and rivals Seattle. With their 1 draw and 2 losses at home so far this season, the Thorns have already dropped almost as many points at home this year as they have the last two seasons combined, when they went 8-1-1 (2016) and 10-1-1 (2017).
Portland has 6 different goalscorers this season, led by Sinclair with 5 and Horan with 3. The Thorns have scored 6 goals and conceded 7 at home.
Our coverage of Utah Royals at Portland Thorns begins on Friday at 8:30 PM with Greg Wrubell and Carla Swensen-Haslam.