The Utah Royals are back on the road for their next two matches, first up: Portland Thorns. Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. The Utah Royals are coming off a 3-1 win over last-place Sky Blue FC last weekend. Christen Press scored her first goal for Utah in the 7th minute and assisted the first of Katie Stengel’s two goals. With the win, the Royals now sit in 5th place, just one point behind Chicago Red Stars who have played two more matches than Utah.
Royals defenders Becca Moros and Becky Sauerbrunn were named to the NWSL Team of the Month for June, where Utah went 3-1-1, gave up 4 goals, and had 2 shutouts.
2. Tonight’s match will be the third and final between Portland and Utah this season. Utah is 0-1-1 against the Thorns, Portland delivering Utah’s first-ever road loss on May 25th. But with recent additions Sam Johnson and Christen Press, the Royals look more dangerous than ever. Stengel’s brace on Saturday moved her to the top of the Royals’ scoring chart with 3 goals, Diana Matheson has 2 goals and 1 assist, and Brittany Ratcliffe has 2 goals. Utah is 2-2-3 on the road this season.
3. The Portland Thorns went 1-2-1 for the month of June, most recently drawing 1-1 with Sky Blue and losing 1-0 to Seattle Reign. Currently sitting in 6th place, the reigning NWSL Champs are just 2-3-2 at home this season. Portland goalkeeper Adrianna Franch received NWSL Player of the Week and Save of the Week honors after making a combined 11 saves versus Sky Blue and Seattle last week. Thorns and USWNT defender Meghan Klingenburg has been suspended for this match by the NWSL following an altercation with Seattle’s Allie Long over the weekend, defender Katherine Reynolds will also miss the match. Canadian international Christine Sinclair leads Portland with 7 goals and 5 assists while Lindsey Horan sits on 6 goals and 1 assist. Both Sinclair and Horan scored against Utah in their 2-0 win in May.
Our coverage of Utah Royals at Portland Thorns begins on Friday, July 6th at 9 P.M. with Greg Wrubell and Carla Swensen-Haslam.