Storylines | Royals FC vs. Houston Dash

She’s the One That Gives Her All
Against the Portland Thorns GK Nicole Barnhart recorded her tenth shutout of the season through just 19 games, tied for the second most in a single season in league history. Should she record a shutout against Houston, Barnhart will match the record set by Portland goalkeeper Adrianna Franch in 2017, during which she recorded 11 clean sheets in 24 matches. Currently Barnhart holds the record for all-time saves (436) and shutouts (51) and leads goalkeepers all-time in games played (130), games started (129) and minutes played (11,583). Should she clinch the single-season shutout record the only remaining goalkeeping records Barnhart will not hold are single-season saves, all-time penalty kick saves and goals against average. 

They Always Keep the Top Tier, Five Star
Last Friday, DF Becky Sauerbrunn became the second Utah Royals FC centerback to score against Portland Thorns FC. In the 36th minute Sauerbrunn’s head connected from the top of the 18-yard-box off a cross from FW Christen Press to score Utah’s lone goal in the 1-0 victory over Portland. On July 19,DF Rachel Corsie used her head to score an overtime equalizer off a cross from DF Kelley O’Hara against the Thorns. Thus far seven other centerbacks across the league have scored for their respective teams, however Utah is one of only two teams to have two centerback goalscorers, the other being Orlando Pride. 

You Must Not Know ‘Bout Me
Friday’s matchup against Houston Dash will be the first time this season that FW Christen Press, MF Desiree Scott and DF Becky Sauerbrunn have played against the team from Texas. The last time these two teams faced on May 11 the trio had already departed to begin training with their respective national teams for the impending 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. On the opposite side, Houston was without their Canadian internationals, Lindsey Agnew, Allysha Chapman, Nichelle Prince and Sophie Schmidt. 

Such a Funny Thing to Try to Explain
In the past month and a half Utah Royals FC has gone 4-1-1 through six games and in doing so has had five players who rank in the top ten for touches across the league. DF Rachel Corsie leads the pack with 438 touches in six games for the second-most in the league, followed by FW Mallory Weber in fourth with 406, MF Vero Boquete in sixth with 392, DF Katie Bowen in ninth with 378 and MF Lo’eau LaBonta in tenth with 375. Additionally, four players rank in the top ten for passes made. Corise leads the league with 389 passes, DF Becky Sauerbrunn has the fourth most with 303, Boquete is in sixth with 285 and LaBonta is tied for the tenth-most passes with 268.