Seattle Hits the Road for Mid-Week Matchup with Utah Royals FC
On Wednesday, June 27, Seattle Reign FC (5-3-4, 19 points) travels to Rio Tinto Stadium for the club’s first-ever meeting with Utah Royals FC (4-3-5, 17 points).
The mid-week matchup – Seattle’s second match in five days – kicks off at 7:00 p.m. PT from Sandy, UT.
Reign FC is tied with Portland Thorns FC and the Chicago Red Stars for third place in the NWSL standings. Each team currently has 19 points, but Seattle has played fewer matches than both Portland and Chicago this season. Utah, led by former Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey, is the only side that Seattle has yet to play this season. Wednesday’s match will be Harvey’s first outing against her former team.
In their last showing, Seattle lost at home to the North Carolina Courage. Megan Oyster scored her first goal of the season, cashing in the rebound from Megan Rapinoe’s free kick. Crystal Dunn netted a brace, scoring half of North Carolina’s goals in their 4-1 win.
Wednesday is poised to be a decisive day for the NWSL standings. Orlando (6-3-4, 22 points), who currently sit second in the standings, will play Houston, while Portland Thorns FC (5-4-4, 19 points) will host Sky Blue FC. If Orlando loses and Seattle and Portland both win, all three teams will be on 22 points, although Seattle has a game in hand on both Portland and Orlando.
Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski knows the importance of this three-game stretch, and is prepared for the adjustments they’ll need to make.
“We played on Saturday and it’s a short week,” Andonovski said. “We play on Wednesday and then Saturday again, so we have to have a little bit of rotation in the squad. Tactically, I thought we did a good job [against North Carolina] as a team, so hopefully we can fix some of the mistakes. These things will force us to play a little more conservatively.”
After dealing North Carolina their first and only loss of the season, Utah followed up with a 2-0 loss at Chicago on June 23. Utah is 3-2-0 in its last five matches, with wins over Houston, Sky Blue FC, and North Carolina. Reign FC comes in with a 1-2-2 record in its last five matches. The club went scoreless for two recent matches, before breaking through with a goal on Saturday against the Courage. Andonovski pointed out a few keys to improving his team’s performance after its recent loss.
“It starts with the build-up, breaking lines, finding pockets,” Andonovski said. “There were several things that went wrong in our last match. I thought we lost our individual battles. We have to make sure we win those, and help each other enough to make those battles easier.”
Through 12 matches, Utah has scored as many goals as they’ve conceded. With ten goals scored, Utah is tied for second-fewest in the league, but only ten goals allowed makes Royals FC the league’s stingiest defense. Utah has recorded five clean sheets this season, including a streak of three straight from May 5 to May 19. Diana Matheson and Brittany Ratcliffe are Utah’s leading scorers with two goals apiece.
Megan Rapinoe is the top scorer for Seattle with five goals, while Jodie Taylor has found the net three times. Allie Long and Bev Yanez have each scored twice in 2018, and Rumi Utsugi and Megan Oyster have both knocked in one goal.
Wednesday’s match can be streamed live via go90.com or the go90 app, with live stats available on the NWSL website at www.nwslsoccer.com. Follow along with live play-by-play of the match on Reign FC’s official Twitter page, @ReignFC, and join the conversation using the hashtag #UTAvSEA.
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.