Storylines | Royals FC vs. Portland Thorns

Is This the Real Life?
Utah Royals FC are unbeaten in its last four games, securing 10 out of 12 possible points to catapult into fourth place in the National Women’s Soccer League standings, just one point behind the Chicago Red Stars in third. During the stretch the team recorded three shutouts and scored seven goals from four different players. Last season URFC enjoyed a five-game unbeaten streak during the months of April and May, earning nine points out of a possible 15 and should the team beat or draw with Portland on Friday said record will be matched. 

She’s a Shooting Star, Leaping Through the Sky
In Utah Royals FC’s last match, GK Nicole Barnhart recorded her ninth shutout of the season, matching a club-high record and the fourth-most recorded in a single season in the NWSL. In addition, it marked Barnhart’s 50th career shutout, the most of any goalkeeper in the history of the league. Through 18 matches Barnhart has made 45 saves this season, bringing her career total to 431 saves the most in league history, 37 more than Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris in second.  

And She’s Yet to Have Her Finest Hour
Earlier this week FW Christen Press was selected as the NWSL Player of the Month, the first player to receive the honor as a member of Utah Royals FC. However, Press has previously won the award in April of 2015 with her former team the Chicago Red Stars. The forward was selected for her three goals during the month of August that included two goals in two minutes on August 7 against Sky Blue FC. Her teammate FW Amy Rodriguez finished third in the voting after scoring three goals in three consecutive games. Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair finished in second. 

God Save the Queen
FW Christen Press has scored six goals this season, bringing her career National Women’s Soccer League total to 43 goals across 79 games played, the fifth most in the history of the league and just one goal behind North Carolina Courage forward Jessica McDonald and two behind Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair. The forward is currently just seven goals away from the 50 goal mark, a milestone only reached by Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr. Additionally, Press has produced the fourth-most shots (299) and second-most shots on goal (170) all-time for NWSL.