Storylines | Royals FC vs. Houston Dash

‘Cause This is Thriller Night
With 23 of the 24 matches of the 2019 season completed for Utah Royals FC, the Houston Dash remain the only team that Utah has been unable to earn a point against. In the past two matches Houston has taken the upper hand, defeating Royals FC by a score of 2-1 in both instances. The first, on May 11 at Rio Tinto Stadium, saw Rachel Daly score a brace for the Dash, while FW Amy Rodriguez netted the lone goal for Utah. Then, at BBVA Stadium on September 13, Sofia Huerta added her own brace to find the 2-1 victory, MF Gunny Jónsdóttir scored for Royals FC, assisted by MF Erika Tymrak

It Caught on in a Flash
In the last match for Utah Royals FC FW Christen Press scored her seventh goal of the season, giving her the second-most on the team, behind FW Amy Rodriguez who has scored eight. Press scored the goal using her head, an unusual occurrence for the forward as it was only her second headed goal since 2016. The goal was assisted by MF Gunny Jónsdóttir, bringing her season total to four, the second-most on the squad, behind MF Vero Boquete who has assisted on five goals. 

Who You Gonna Call?
With the last game of the season GK Nicole Barnhart still leads the league in shutouts with 10. North Carolina Courage goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe sits in second with eight clean sheets. The team’s clean sheets meet a record for the second-most in league history set by Barnhart herself back in 2014 on the way to the NWSL Championship with FC Kansas City. Currently Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch holds the title for the most single-season shutouts with 11, should the team shutout Houston Dash on Saturday, Barnhart will tie the record. 

They Put a Spell on You
With just one game remaining the race for the URFC Golden Boot has drawn incredibly close with just one goal separating FW’s Christen Press and Amy Rodriguez. Currently Rodriguez has netted eight goals in 23 games, the second-most in a single season during her NWSL career. Meanwhile, Press has scored seven goals in 13 games and has also added two assists. Press previously recorded the most goals for her former club, the Chicago Red Stars, in 2014 and 2017, while Rodriguez did so with FC Kansas City in 2014. Last season the award went to FW Katie Stengel who scored six goals in the club’s inaugural season and Rodriguez finished in second with five goals.