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URFC Quote Sheet: March 16

Utah Royals Quote Sheet

Ally Sentnor and Carly Nelson 

Q: Ally, first professional game, can you just give us your thoughts on what that was like and just the atmosphere in the stadium tonight? 

A: I'm so grateful to have made my debut. I think the fans just made the environment immaculate, and every second of the game we were hearing them, and it was just pushing us to go on. I think I'm just so grateful to play in front of this crowd and this team, and hopefully continue the season on a good note. 

Q: Ally, talk about your connection with Po on the left. 

A: It's definitely a new connection, but we are great friends off the field, so it helps on the field. I think her constant communication during the game has really helped me, especially since this is a new position for me playing out wing so just defensively and attacking just her positioning me and helping me out has been absolutely incredible, and I'm excited for that connection to continue to grow and look really good on that left side.

Q: Just talking about the result in general, obviously not what you want out of your first game, but what can you maybe take away from this game? And what were some things that you think you guys can improve on from this loss? 

C: I think it's a good start. I think with a new team and a new atmosphere, I think those mistakes came from ourselves, and I think those could be really good building blocks and learning lessons for us through the season. 

A: Honestly we came out of the gate really strong, and I was really proud of our team. We had some really, really good moments that I think we can build on, and definitely some plays that we can build on. Like Carly said, some of the mistakes were on us, and those are things that we can fix, gratefully. So, the things that we made mistakes on are things we can fix, and then, I think, going forward, it's going to look really good. And I'm really hopeful and optimistic for us.  

Q: For both of you, we don't have the official number of the attendance yet, it's thought that not only is it a sellout obviously, but the biggest crowd to ever watch a women's soccer game in Utah and maybe any women's sport ever in the state. So I'm just wondering what that means to each of you.  

A: I mean, this was definitely the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of, so that was pretty awesome. The fans here are just so amazing and I'm just so grateful to be in this state where they really support us and are just even, even after the loss, you could hear them.

They wanted to talk to us. They were still supporting us, and that really means a lot. And it's something I know personally pushes me to try to help this team win. So I think that's really amazing, and I'm hoping we can continue to get those crowds. 

C: It's an honor and a privilege to play in front of this crowd like Utah is one of the best markets for it. And they show up for us. And like Ally said, we didn't get the result we wanted, but they still have our backs. And we're going to need that through the season as we continue to build. And I think that's awesome. 

Q: Carly, in your opinion, what do you think were the key points to the loss today?  

C: I think just the breakdown in defensive transition. I think that we got caught in really bad positions and just spread out, and we made our own mistakes in those positions. Without those, I think it's a different story.

Q: Carly, for you. You were having a lot of communications with your defenders. As you said that the transitions in, defensively were something that you want to improve. When you were talking with your defenders, Were you getting mad with them or something?  

C: I just think that we were pulled out in just really bad spaces and just trying to close those distances between the two. Again, if we close the distances between defenders and midfielders, it's a different story. 

Q: And for you Ally. You were playing in the scrimmages before the start of the season on the left and right wing. Where do you feel more comfortable to play? 

A:  I'm really here to do whatever the team needs me to do and wherever the coach decides to put me, I'm going to put in my best work. I enjoy being on the ball, I enjoy connecting with my teammates, so whatever that entails is where I want to play.

Amy Rodriguez 

Q: You know the crowd tonight, it's thought to be the biggest women's soccer crowd in the state. Maybe the biggest women's sports crowd in the state ever. What does that mean to you?  

A: It was so special to play here because of our fan base and because of our community and I think we got to see that tonight even bigger and better than ever before. I actually lost my voice tonight because the crowd was so loud. So, kudos to them for showing up for us and supporting us. I thought the team's energy was better because of them. And it's so great to see Utah showing up for us. 

Q: Royals dominated in possession, dominated in shots, a lot of good things to build on. In your opinion, what are the positives to take away and where would you like to see the team improve? 

A: Exactly how you said it.  A lot of really good things to build on. Our main priorities in possession are to have great ball security and to score goals. And so I asked the team about tonight and they showed that. Unfortunately missed the mark with the final touches, but we have a long season to build through, and I'm very excited with the foundation that we laid tonight. 

Q: I believe this was the first time you've been the head coach during an entire match. What was that experience like? 

A: Really pleased with my staff. I have a great support staff, technical staff around me. Tonight was a team effort amongst the staff, amongst the players. I just sat in the head coach's seat and  am really proud of my group. Like I mentioned, both staff and players. I'm sad to have lost our opening game this season. Especially stepping into this new role. I really wanted to show out for Utah and show out for Salt Lake City. But I guess you'll have to wait until next Friday to see that happen. 

Q: Amy, what were your thoughts in regards to your substitutions like the timing and how your subs played?

A: Yeah, I think we wanted to go for some impact, especially in the later minutes of the game when we were obviously down two-zero, Brecken Mozingo is a game changer. And we thought she was going to be able to do that for us tonight. She went in and made some really great impact. Ify as well. Cam Tucker as well. Like I said, we just couldn't put the ball over the line. 

Q: Looking at a large perspective, what does this mean for women in the state of young girls seeing another professional women's soccer team back in the state of Utah tonight? 

A: I hope we inspired Salt Lake City. I hope we inspired the state of Utah. For me personally, I think there's so much great soccer talent in this state that I've seen firsthand and, you can see it by  just how many girls showed up in our stands tonight. I know that we are empowering those little girls to hopefully one day join us in this Royals organization and hopefully be a part of this because, The NWSL is growing, the soccer here in Utah is growing and I can't wait to see where this goes.  

Q: What did you think of Ally’s performance today in her NWSL debut?  

A: I have to remember that this is Ally Sentnor’s, Breckin Mozingo's, Agnes Nyberg, Donna Foederer. We had several players with their very first NWSL game tonight. You know, to have their feet under them, is a feat, you know, to have them, just get those first couple touches for me was, was amazing to watch. I am super supportive of this group stepping out on the field tonight. Ally Sentnor did her Ally Sentnor things. I mean, she's just such a crafty player and created a lot of one-on-one situations and caused havoc for Chicago. I just think we were missing that final piece tonight from her as well as the whole group.

Q: How was that in the locker room? How was that impact of this loss? Because as I saw, many of them were excited to play again, for the comeback of the Royals in Utah. So how did you see the locker room after game? 

A: I told the team that I know that we lost the game, but we can't lose the next piece, and that is the recovery, physically after this game, and then the bounce back. We can't get too down on ourselves after this result. It's the first game of the season, and we have so much more room to grow. As we mentioned earlier, this is a great foundation to build on. My team dominated in possession. We saw so many little sparks of talent from different players and all over the pitch. But the locker room is going to be okay and I'm happy to say that our heads will be held high after this game. 

Q:  Do you think that the inexperience of these players played against the team?

A: This was our very first match of 2024 and we are an expansion team with a group of players who have never played together. Some of our players in there have never played in front of 20,000 fans. This was a big moment and I don't think our lack of experience hindered us at all. I just, I think we have a few details that we need to work on and some of that is, is just some things that we can solve in training. 

Q: Amy, you mentioned obviously not being able to put the ball in the back of the net today. How much of that was maybe like some just not enough, technical. 

A: Alyssa Nair. That's what it came down to. Credit to Chicago and Alyssa Nair tonight. We were unable to get it past her and she showed up huge for them and kept them in the game and in moments where we probably should have scored or could have scored. She denied us and that kept your team in the game. So I think that was the difference maker for Chicago tonight.  

Q: Amy I have two for you today. First game as a coach, How did that compare nerves and excitement wise to some of the biggest games you've been in as a player? 

A: I had so much fun tonight. I know my team didn't get the result I wanted but, I was super proud of them having played for the city and knowing what this community is like and how much they support us. I was just so excited for my players to feel that. I told them before they went out, go win the hearts of 20,000 people in that stand, and in those stands. And I think they did that tonight. And so I got to obviously be on the sideline for my team and lead them in the best way that I could. I lost my voice at one point because it was just so loud out there, but, I think I had more fun than the result would argue.  

Q: And you mentioned Nair was great. She made two big saves on Hannah Betford who had great chances. As a former striker, what's your best advice for Hannah after a game like this?  

A: Forget quickly and move on. I can't wait to get into training with her this week and tidy up some things, because I know that girl was knocking on the door all night. I can only assume that, you know, next week she'll, she'll come out even stronger and better. Hungrier.  

Q: Hi Amy, Jenna Tonelli with Equalizer. I just wanted to get your thoughts on Paige Monaghan on her performance tonight. The newly minted captain of this new team. Just what you saw from her both in terms of her performance on the pitch, but also her leadership as a captain tonight. 

A: Paige is always going to bring that leadership piece for us. And that's why she was selected captain this year. I thought that her side of the field was a bit quiet tonight. Didn't see much of her on the ball, but there are many ways that she can contribute to this team. And like we just mentioned, leadership is a huge one of them. 

Q: In terms of Chicago's keeper, what are your thoughts on that?  

A: Yeah, and on the, you know, on the other side of it, we, we let two goals go in that probably were a little bit of a breakdown from us. Um, credit to Chicago for showing up when they, when they could and when they did. And Alyssa Nair specifically kept her team in the game. I was, uh, I was upset in the moment when it looked or felt like Chicago scored off the run of play where we had, you know, the majority of possession. We were dominating and kind of offhand, they, they went ahead with a, with a goal up and  um, I was still super proud of my team for fighting through. They did not give up all game long. They pushed, you know, beyond the 90 for sure when I felt like Chicago looked tired, but Goalkeepers win championships and Alyssa  kind of proved that tonight. 

Q: He feels that when the team played the best isn't that we're playing offensively. Do you agree with that? And how do you kind of dissect that?  

A: You mean like in possession?  Yeah, the team was very good in possession tonight. We saw Chicago open up with a mid block, low block against us, so it gave us some time to build. I thought that they, again, they played well in their 18, where their goalkeeper made some good saves. There's some details that we need to work on this week, in terms of converting those chances for ourselves. But I was pleased that we had a lot of the ball tonight. I just, I want us to get that ball over the line.