Utah Royals FC 0-3 North Carolina Courage 
Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Head Coach Laura Harvey

On the game:

“I didn’t think we were good. A lot of things happened, but ultimately, I think we weren’t good enough on the ball, which meant we couldn’t gain momentum. The way that we play is we move teams around and pass the ball well and make it difficult for other teams. We didn’t do that well enough tonight, and against a team like this, that means you’re going to give them opportunities to get closer to your goal. Every time it felt like we were getting a little bit of momentum, we just gave the ball away. That’s not who we are. I just said to the players, I will always ask them to be brave in how we play. I’ll always ask them to try and be dominant in possession, and when we’ve done that against teams, we’ve had success against all the top teams. When we’ve done those things, Portland here, the Reign away, we’ve gotten results. We didn’t do that tonight. There were multiple things in the game, mistakes that led to goals. I didn’t think the referee had a great game. Ultimately, I think the crux of it was that we weren’t good enough.”

On the loss being because of Courage’s high pressure:

“It was us. I wish I knew exactly why it was, then I could have solved it while it was happening. We were tentative at times. We made it easy for them to take the ball away from us, and Carolina are going to pressure us, that’s the team that they are. The reason why we’ve had relative success against them previously and made it a really tight game, whether win, lose or draw, was because we moved the ball well. We didn’t do that tonight.”

On Barnhart’s errors:

“The greatest things about people like Barnhart is that she straightaway says, ‘My bad.’ Obviously, we’ll review it and try to help her to make sure it doesn’t happen again. There’s been multiple times this season and previously, where I’ve sat here and said that she’s been phenomenal. I’m never going to say anything negative about Nicole Barnhart, because she’s been phenomenal for us, and she just made one very uncharacteristic mistake.

On Press being limited:

“She’s not been able to be fully involved in everything, and I think you saw a little bit of that tonight. We took her off at the end, because we have 3 games in one week and with the little niggle that she’s had, it just got it a point where giving her a 5 minute breather at the end would be beneficial.”

On the playoff race:
“We’ve always said that we want to keep it in our hands. No matter what happens in the Reign and Portland games tonight, we play the Reign and Chicago this week. This is going to define the season. You get two results, two wins in those games, and you’re probably close to being there. We knew that the Houston result would have given us a cushion. Getting a result tonight would have given us even more of a cushion, but this team tends to be that way, we like to make things difficult for ourselves. I still believe that it’s in our hands, if we win our last 3 games, we’ll be in. The margin of error now is zero.”
On the result being disappointing:

"I can tell you that I prefer to be on the end of the result we had tonight, the way the game went, than what they’ve done to other teams this month. I don’t know what the stats were, but I didn’t feel like Barnhart had to make a ton of saves. I feel like we gifted them goals, which you can’t do against Carolina, can’t do it. Normally when you play Carolina and you give them goals, you’re facing a way bigger scoreline than what you saw tonight. The disappointing thing for us was that we felt we reduced their shots on goal. Carolina is renowned for having a thousand shots on goal, and I think we reduced them in that. To concede 3 goals in the way we did, the penalty, and two mistakes from us, is the most disappointing thing. Having seen what they’ve done to other teams this month, I don’t think this is going to be something that will drag us down. It’s on us. It’s something that we can change, it’s not something where they’ve railroaded us and we have no answer to it. It was on us, and ultimately on me. I said that to the players at the end, because I will always ask these players to be brave. I believe in them and I believe in the way that we play. Tonight our bravery got the better of us at times. The third goal is an example of that. That’s bravery, the way we try to play out and it got the better of us.”

On the quick turnaround and recovery:

“Tomorrow they get to rest, and then we go again. Tomorrow will be a rest day, and then we turn our attention straight to Seattle. We’ve already prepared for them once, so there’s not necessarily a lot of preparation that we have to do, but it is about rest and recovery these next 48 hours. We’ll fly out to the Reign and then just pin everything down in terms of preparation, but we’ve already done it once, so it won’t change too much. I think the biggest thing is rest and recovery and get on the road and make sure that we can take care of business while we’re out there.”

Defender Becky Sauerbrunn

On giving up 3 goals for the first time:

“I think it’s pretty unfortunate, because I gave up the PK in the first half, and then two errors, just one playing out of the back and one fluke, a once in a blue moon goal. It’s like we threw the game away, we gave the game away. I think we limited them in the amount of chances and shots, so we can take that away, but we just need to shore up the mistakes. If we do that, this could have been more of a game, so I feel like we gave it away.”

On when it started to feel out of reach:

“I would say after the third goal went in. With the 2-0 we had some chances, we were getting into the final third a little bit more, the momentum was shifting in our direction and then when that third one went in, it was a spirit killer. What I’m proud of is that no one on that field gave up. It could have been easy for us to stop playing, but we kept at it. If you can find things to take away from the game, I think we can take that away and be proud of it.”

On the loss being lessened because you gave them the game:

“There were parts of the game where we were being outplayed. North Carolina is an excellent team, and so they definitely had momentum for large chunks of that game. Going forward, everything is a must win now. We can just learn from our mistakes. We like to play out of the back, we like to build, and tonight we found out what we can’t get away with. We can carry that into the last couple games and make sure that we don’t do the same thing.”

Defender Mallory Weber
On conceding three goals:

“We knew that we had to limit them. They've been scoring a ton of goals lately, and we did a good job of eliminating their shots, and they're dangerous chances, but we give them our mistakes, which turned into their goals. So, we’ll have to go back and look at those and figure out how we're going to lock it down moving forward.”

On how the goals happened:

“I don't think we've seen mistakes like that turn into goals. We’ve seen the mistakes, but they haven't cost us and tonight, we felt them all. It's definitely frustrating, especially to a team like that.”

On moving forward:

“We're definitely focused on Seattle, it's a must win, especially because we're both in the same position now. We’ll rest, recover today and tomorrow, and then figure out what we have to do to get those three points on Wednesday.”

On the rescheduled game:
“I think both sides of that you can look at it -- Getting Seattle done last week and then coming into this one seeing where we're at, or giving them more time to recover, and then hitting it next week. So, I think we won't be able to tell until Wednesday.”