The Utah Royals are set to host the Seattle Reign, Laura Harvey’s former team, for the first time this season. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Utah is coming off a tough 2-0 road loss against Chicago Red Stars, dropping all three points on the road for just the second time this season. The loss left the team at 6th place with a record of 4-3-5. The match in Chicago was the last of the Royals’ four-match road trip, where they went 2-2-0.
Despite the loss last weekend, there is still a lot of excitement around the Royals with the recent signing of Christen Press and Samantha Johnson. Press and Johnson were acquired via a trade with Chicago before their matchup last Saturday but weren’t available per a gentleman’s agreement with the Red Stars. With Chicago behind them, Press and Johnson are available and expected to feature in at least one of the two home matches this week. Press joined the media for the first time today, saying she is pleased with her transfer and excited to be part of the family.
2. Royals head coach Laura Harvey was the first head coach for the Reign and spent 2013-2017 with Seattle, bringing the club consecutive NWSL Shields in 2014 and 2015 but stepped down in November 2017 after the Reign failed to make the playoffs in 2016 and 2017. Harvey also led the club to an NWSL record 16-match unbeaten streak, going 13-0-3 from April 13, 2014-July 6, 2014. Harvey says that Seattle will always have a special place in her heart, but “game time is game time.”
Wednesday’s matchup will mark the first-ever meeting between the Royals and Reign and is the first of two consecutive matches at Rio Tinto Stadium for Utah, where they are 2-1-2.
3. The Seattle Reign are coming off a big 4-1 loss against North Carolina last weekend, which left them in 3rd place with a record of 5-3-4. Like Laura Harvey, Seattle Reign head coach Vlatko Andonovski (formerly FC Kansas City head coach) will be facing many of his former players on Wednesday, as Utah Royals acquired the FC Kansas City players when the club ceased operations. U.S. women’s national team members Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long lead the Reign with a combined 7 goals and 1 assist. The Reign have conceded 6 goals and scored 7 on the road this season, giving them a 3-2-2 road record.
For more Utah Royals coverage, including practice sound and team news, check out espn700sports.com/rsl.
Our broadcast coverage of Utah Royals vs Seattle Reign begins on Wednesday, June 27th at 8 P.M. with Greg Wrubell and Carla Swensen-Haslam.