The Fourth of July: an important game on an important day. Today’s game got a lot of pressure on it, not only for the teams but also for the (American) players as individuals: USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski himself was in the stands today to watch the game in person. He might be searching for new talent or taking a look if his current players are still at national team-level.
Both teams had played a tie in their previous games (Utah Royals – Houston Dash 3-3, OL Reign – Sky Blue 0-0). Obviously both teams wanted and needed a win. With these few games in the tournament, every game, and every goal counts.today to watch the game in person. He might be searching for new talent or taking a look if his current players are still at national team-level.
Early in the game, several free kicks taken by Utah’s Vero Boquete didn’t work out. The first big chance came in the 15th minute when Utah’s LaBonta assisted Elizabeth Ball who tried to score a header but missed the goal only by about two feet.
Sky Blue didn’t really manage to break through Utah’s defense during the first half. The home team was visibly stronger, had more ball possession, and created more chances. This was proven in the 41st minute when Amy Rodriguez got the ball from Vero and shoved it over the keeper.
The second half had a bit less action in it. Neither of the teams really broke through, although Utah had some chances. All shots were easily caught by Sky Blue’s goalkeeper, Kailen Sheridan, yet still it was obvious that Utah was the better team. They didn’t manage to get another goal though, not even when rookie Tziarra King was brought in. King scored the equalizer against Houston last week during her debut game.
The game ended 1-0 to Utah Royals FC, with the goal scored by Amy Rodriguez, who was also my player of the match. She often created chances for Utah, and obviously helped them to get the win.
Sky Blue really needs to win their next game (against Houston) if they still want to have a chance in the tournament. Utah is a bit safer now, but they too will have to give a little bit extra. I am excited to see how the rest of the tournament will go.
Utah Royals FC (3-5-2): Abby Smith; Elizabeth Ball, Rachel Corsie, Kate Del Fava; Michelle Maemone (Mallory Weber 66’), Lo’eau LaBonta, Vero Boquete, Diana Matheson (Gunny Jonsdottir 57’), Raisa Strom-Okimoto (Katie Bowen 46’); Brittany Ratcliffe (Tziarra King 66’), Amy Rodriguez (Arielle Ship 85’).
Subs not used: Nicole Barnhart, Melissa Lowder, Gaby Vincent, Holly Daugirda, Taylor Leach, Taylor Lytle, Madeline Nolf, Marissa Sheva, Chestley Strother
Sky Blue FC: (4-3-3): Kailen Sheridan; Sabrina Flores (Erica Skroski 72’), Kaleigh Riehl (Estelle Johnson 68’), Gina Lewandowski, Midge Purce; Domi Richardson (Nicole Baxter 85’), Naho Kawasumi, Sarah Woldmoe; Paige Monaghan (Jennifer Cudjoe 46’), Evelyne Viens (Ifeoma Onumonu 46’), Elizabeth Eddy.
Subs not used: DiDi Haracic, Amanda McGlynn, Megan Hinz, Cassidy Benintente, Imani Dorsey, Mandy Freeman, Chantelle Swaby, Kenie Wright, McCall Zerboni
By Emmy van Ingen
Photo Credit: Nikki Flores @ Footy Day Photos