TACOMA, Washington – (Saturday, October 17, 2020) – Utah Royals FC (0-2-2, 2 points) fell 2-0 to OL Reign FC in the 2020 NWSL Fall Series finale on Saturday at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington.
Utah goalkeeper Abby Smith made eight saves on the night and a late comeback effort was thwarted by OL Reign to close out the NWSL Fall Series.
Smith made four saves in the first 20 minutes of the match, but OL Reign broke through in the 24th minute when Sofia Huerta got in up the right side and slotted in a goal for the 1-0 lead. The Reign outshot Utah 15-3 in the first half, but Royals FC went into halftime with the game well within reach at 1-0.
OL Reign extended the lead to 2-0 in the 51st minute off a lofted shot from Leah Pruitt. Royals FC pressed narrow the deficit and had its best chance when Tziarra King fired a shot from just outside the box in the 74th minute, forcing Casey Murphy into a diving save. On her Utah debut, Michele Vasconcelos was denied a goal in the 80th minute when Murphy sprung off her line to block her effort on a run up the right side.
The match concludes Utah Royals FC’s 2020 campaign after the NWSL Challenge Cup and the NWSL Fall Series.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
RGN: Sofia Huerta (Shirley Cruz) 24th minute - On the counter-attack, Shirley Cruz led Sofia Huerta up the right side. Huerta got into the box unopposed and slotted her shot inside the far post for the 1-0 Reign lead.
RGN: Leah Pruitt (Bethany Balcer) 51st minute - After receiving the ball at the top of the 18-yard-box Leah Pruitt lofted the ball into the left side of the net to earn the second goal of the night.
For the first time in club history the entire coaching staff was made up of women, including, Interim Head Coach Amy LePeilbet and assistant coaches Nikki Washington and Caitlin Young.
Utah Royals FC were without Vero Boquete and Kate Del Fava due to injury.
Forward Michele Vasconcelos made her Utah Royals FC debut in the 66th minute when she came on as a substitute for Brittany Ratcliffe.
Match: Utah Royals FC vs. OL Reign FC
Date: October 17, 2020
Venue: Cheney Stadium; Tacoma, Washington
Weather: Cloudy and 57 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Utah Royals FC 0 0 0
OL Reign FC 1 1 2
RGN: Sofia Huerta (Shirley Cruz) 24’
RGN: Leah Pruitt (Bethany Balcer) 51’
Utah Royals FC (4-3-3): Abby Smith; Katie Bowen, Elizabeth Ball, Taylor Leach, Mallory Weber; Aminata Diallo (Gaby Vincent 63’), Lo’eau LaBonta, Taylor Lytle; Brittany Ratcliffe (Michele Vasconcelos 66’), Amy Rodriguez, Tziarra King (Arielle Ship 76’).
Subs not used: Melissa Lowder, Madeline Nolf, Michelle Maemone, Raisa Strom-Okimoto.
OL Reign FC (4-2-3-1): Casey Murphy; Stephanie Cox, Amber Brooks, Kristen McNabb, Madison Hammond; Shirley Cruz (Sam Hiatt 79’), Dani Weatherholt; Sofia Huerta, Rosie White (Morgan Andrews 70’), Bethany Balcer (Jasmyne Spence 86’); Leah Pruitt (Miranda Nild 79’).
Subs not used: Carly Nelson, Kim Hazlett.
Stats Summary: UTA / RGN
Shots: 10 / 23
Shots on Goal: 5 / 11
Saves: 8 / 5
Corner Kicks: 2 / 8
Fouls: 10 / 17
Offside: 2 / 3
RGN: Kristen McNabb (caution) 45’+8
Referee: Adorae Monroy
Assistant Referees: Baboucarr Jallow, Christian Clerc
4th Official: Sya Magee