Sandy, Utah (Saturday, September 8, 2018) – Utah Royals FC (9-7-8, 35 points) got second-half goals from FW Amy Rodriguez and FW Katie Stengel to end the club’s inaugural season with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Red Stars in front of a crowd of 11,851 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
Chicago scored in the first half, but Rodriguez and Stengel – who were involved in a tightly-contested race for the Golden Boot – both scored goals while GK Nicole Barnhart finished with seven saves to preserve the victory as URFC finished its first season with a three-game unbeaten streak.
Utah threatened the Chicago goal throughout the first half, but Chicago would strike first. In the 38th minute, Sam Kerr got her head to a cross from Arin Gilliland and nodded it past Barnhart for her 16th goal of the season to put the Red Stars up 1-0. Barnhart would finish the first half with five saves while on the other end of the field, Utah had six shots, forcing Alyssa Naeher into two saves.
In the second half, Utah turned up the heat and got two goals off crosses from the wings. In the 55th minute, DF Katie Bowen launched a ball in from the right side, finding Rodriguez for a side-winding volley that hit off the post and in for her fifth goal of the season to equalize at 1-1. Then Stengel finished the comeback with her sixth goal of the season. In the 64th minute, DF Becca Moros led FW Taylor Lytle up the left side and Lytle sent a cross in for Stengel, who knocked it past Naeher for the game-winner.
Utah finished the season fifth in the NWSL at 9-7-8, two points behind Chicago for the fourth and final playoff spot.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
CHI: Sam Kerr (Arin Gilliland) 38th minute – Arin Gilliland sent a ball into the box from the left side and Sam Kerr skied to nod a header past Nicole Barnhart for her 16th goal of the season to put Chicago up 1-0.
UTA: Amy Rodriguez (Katie Bowen) 55th minute – Katie Bowen crossed the ball from the right side, finding Amy Rodriguez with space for a side-winding volley that skipped off the far post and across the goal before finding the net for her fifth goal of the season to equalize at 1-1.
UTA: Katie Stengel (Taylor Lytle) 64th minute – After a series of passes from Utah, Taylor Lytle got free up the left flank on a ball from Becca Moros. Lytle fired a cross to the middle of the box where Katie Stengel knocked it past Alyssa Naeher for her sixth goal of the season to give the lead to Utah at 2-1.
KEY SAVES AND DEFENSIVE STOPS:
CHI: Alyssa Naeher, 59th minute – Katie Stengel got on the end of a ball at the edge of the six-yard box, but couldn’t get enough on her shot to get it past the diving Alyssa Naeher, who pushed the ball clear for a Utah corner kick.
UTA: Nicole Barnhart, 61st minute – Sam Kerr played a through ball for Rosie White, who went one-on-one with Nicole Barnhart. The Utah goalkeeper sprung off her line and met the attack with a sliding stop to keep the match level.
UTA: Nicole Barnhart, 78th minute – Yuki Nagasato got a turn in the box and fired a high shot from the right side, but Nicole Barnhart got a glove to it to parry it over the bar for the save.
- Utah Royals FC announced the club’s season award winners after the match. DF Becky Sauerbrunn was named Most Valuable Player and Co-Defender of the Year. DF Rachel Corsie shared Co-Defender of the Year honors. FW Brittany Ratcliffe won Goal of the Year for her game-winning strike against the North Carolina Courage. And FW Katie Stengel earned the Golden Boot with a team-leading six goals. Aside from the Golden Boot, the awards were voted on by players and coaches with Utah Royals FC.
- DF/FW Kelley O’Hara was making her first appearance at Rio Tinto Stadium since suffering a hamstring injury on May 9. She played the first half of the match before being replaced by Taylor Lytle. The U.S. National Team star made her return to play in the penultimate match against the Washington Spirit and also appeared for the U.S. this week in a friendly against Chile.
Match: Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars
Date: September 8, 2018
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Weather: Partly cloudy and 86
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Utah Royals FC 0 2 2
Chicago Red Stars 1 0 1
CHI: Sam Kerr (Arin Gilliland) 38’
UTA: Amy Rodriguez (Katie Bowen) 55’
UTA: Katie Stengel (Taylor Lytle) 64’
Utah Royals FC (4-3-3): Nicole Barnhart; Katie Bowen, Rachel Corsie, Becky Sauerbrunn, Becca Moros; Gunny Jónsdóttir, Katie Stengel, Desiree Scott; Christen Press (Erika Tymrak 85’), Amy Rodriguez (Lo’eau Labonta 79’), Kelley O’Hara (Taylor Lytle 46’).
Subs not used: Abby Smith, Samantha Johnson, Diana Matheson, Katrina Gorry.
Chicago Red Stars (4-5-1): Alyssa Naeher; Arin Gilliland, Katie Naughton, Sarah Gorden, Brooke Elby (Morgan Brian 67’); Rosie White (Danielle Colaprico 74’), Nikki Stanton (Summer Green 74’), Michele Vasconcelos, Alyssa Mautz, Yuki Nagasato; Sam Kerr.
Subs not used: Julie Ertz, Emily Boyd, Erin Yenney.
Stats Summary: UTA / CHI
Shots: 18 / 14
Shots on Goal: 7 / 8
Saves: 7 / 5
Corner Kicks: 4 / 7
Fouls: 9 / 8
Offside: 1 / 4
CHI: Arin Gilliland (Caution) 17’
CHI: Nikki Stanton (Caution) 25’
Referee: Rosenda Mendoza
Assistant Referees: Amilcar Sicaju, Gjovalin Bori
4th Official: Kali Smith