Storylines | Royals FC vs. Reign FC

End of the Road
Utah Royals FC and Reign FC have an intimate knowledge of each others squads, unlike that of any other two clubs in the National Women’s Soccer League. Prior to becoming the head coach of Utah, Laura Harvey spent five years as the head coach of the Seattle Reign. On the flipside, current Reign FC coach Vlatko Andonovski spent five years at the helm of the former FC Kansas City, a club several Utah Royals FC players were a part of prior to joining Royals FC. In the history of the league there has never been a direct switch, like this one, between head coaches.  

It’s Gonna Be Me
Last Friday against Portland Thorns FC, DF Sydney Miramontez started the match at rightback and proceeded to play the entire 90 minutes, a first for the young defender this season. Miramontez suffered a foot injury during preseason that sidelined her for the first eight matches of the season. During the match Miramontez was part of the defense that held Portland scoreless and helped Utah earn its sixth shutout of the season, the most in the league. 

Might Sound Crazy But It Ain’t No Lie
After last week’s match GK Nicole Barnhart and MF Gunny Jónsdóttir recorded their 810th minutes of the season, the fourth-most in the entire league, only behind three members of the Orlando Pride, all of whom have played in 10 matches, while Royals FC players have only had nine. Barnhart and Jónsdóttir are the only members of Utah Royals FC to appear in every match and play every single minute of the season. Last year Jónsdóttir was the only player to play every match of the 2018 season, one of only four to do so in the entire league.

And That Makes Her Larger Than Life
Currently DF Sam Johnson leads the league in blocks, tied with Portland Thorns FC defender Katherine Reynolds, both of whom have 11. In seven matches Johnson has contributed to four shutouts from the centerback position and has been a crucial part of Royals FC’s defense to keep the team in the top of the standings. 

We Want It That Way
Friday's match will mark the start of the organization’s second annual Pride weekend. The two-day event includes Utah Royals FC’s match against Reign FC and Real Salt Lake’s Saturday matchup against Sporting Kansas City. As part of the match the players will don rainbow numbers on their jerseys and the corner flags have been replaced with ones that rep the LGBTQ+ flag. In addition, 11 members of Royals FC and two of RSL are participating in the Playing for Pride campaign to raise money and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.