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 Utah Royals FC

Royals Suffer Away Defeat to Chicago Red Stars

May 12, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Utah Royals FC News Release


CHICAGO, Illinois Utah Royals (1-7-1, 4 pts, 14th NWSL) succumbed to another away defeat, its sixth defeat altogether of the season, and a seventh straight game without a win, in the club's maiden NWSL campaign in a 3-1 loss on the road against Chicago Red Stars (5-3-1, 15 pts, 5th NWSL) at SeatGeek Stadium on Sunday, May 12th, 2024.

Things in the game kicked off quickly with Chicago having the ball in the back of the net after barely a minute played when a slipped ball through the heart of the Royals defense found Penelope Hocking who slotted the ball past Mandy Haught and in. However, the forward was judged to have wandered offside during the buildup and the goal did not stand.

The Royals gradually grew into the slightly stronger of both teams as the game went on, dominating possession and creating chances early on. URFC's first big chance in the game came around the 11th minute when a cross from the right flank found Ally Sentnor who controlled the ball before laying it on the path for Mikayla Cluff to take a shot, but the midfielder's low, placed effort was saved by Alyssa Naeher in goal for Chicago.

URFC immediately got another chance about a minute later. Striker Hannah Betfort capitalized on a poor pass by Chicago deep in the hosts' half and embarked on a mini drive forward before unleashing a fierce strike only to see her effort well held by Naeher.

Despite its early dominance in the game, the Royals struggled to capitalize on its chances and was made to pay the price for its profligacy with a Chicago goal in the 23rd minute slightly against the run of play. A well worked Chicago attacking sequence found striker, Mallory Swanson with time and space down the left flank to deliver an inch perfect cross which was met by an unmarked Jenna Bike in the Royals penalty area who equally had time and space to cushion a header past a stunned Haught and into the back of the net to establish a lead for the hosts.

Things got more difficult for the Royals when rookie Olivia Griffits was forced to come off in the 26th minute after suffering an injury.

Things eventually did go from bad to worse for URFC when Chicago were awarded a penalty two minutes later after Lauren Flynn was penalized for a late tackle on Bike in the penalty area, the team's seventh penalty concession in its last 8 NWSL games. Up stepped Mallory Swanson who sent Haught the wrong way with a low and hard finish into the bottom left corner to double Chicago's lead.

Utah continued its fight back for a goal and was gifted a glorious chance late in the first half to pull one back before the break. A well worked move saw the ball played to Paige Monaghan on the right flank who in turn delivered a sublime cross to the back post to find Sentnor for what looked like a tap in but the 20-year-old failed to connect with the ball properly and consequently miscued her effort, as the scores remained the same.

Both teams came out in the second half with renewed vigor in their search of a win. Chicago managed to maintain dominance of the game for large portions of the second half, creating chance after chance but failing to convert. The hosts had a glorious chance in the 56th minute to further pull away when, after a turnover in midfield, attacker, Penelope Hocking was played through on goal by Swanson, and one on one against Haught, but then she failed to keep her shot down, blazing a wayward effort well wide of the goal.

URFC continued its diligent push for a way back into the game and eventually pulled one back through a piece of individual brilliance. A long ball from Kate Del Fava found Michele Vasconcelos free on the left flank allowing her to play a simple pass to Cameron Tucker who in turn cut inside and curled in a magnificent strike from 25 yards out beyond the reach of Wood and into the top right corner to cut the deficit in half. The goal represented Tucker's first ever goal both for the Royals and first in a competitive match.

Spurned on by its late goal, the Royals pushed forward late on in a desperate search for an equalizer, but were left undone deep into injury time. Capitalizing on a turnover in midfield and on a counter attack, Jameese Joseph played a precise through ball to find Hocking who sprinted down towards the Royals goal side by side with three opposing defenders before knocking the ball past an onrushing Haught and finally sliding it into an empty net to seal the result and condemn the Utah Royals to a third successive defeat.

The loss puts the early 2024 Utah Royals season record at 1-7-1. Next up for the Royals is an away clash against North Carolina Courage on Friday, May 17th, at WakeMed Soccer Park. Kickoff is at 6:00 PM MT. The Royals return to America First Field on May 25th against Kansas City Current at 8:00 PM, MT. Tickets can be found at https://www.rsl.com/utahroyals/tickets/ .

UTA 1 : 3 CHI

GOAL-SCORING SUMMARY:

CHI: Jenna Bike (Mallory Swanson) 23': A well worked Chicago attacking sequence found striker, Mallory Swanson with time and space down the left flank to deliver an inch perfect cross which was met by an unmarked Jenna Bike in the Royals penalty area who equally had time and space to cushion a header past Mandy Haught for a Chicago lead.

CHI: Mallory Swanson (Penalty) 29': Chicago were awarded a penalty after Lauren Flynn was penalized for a late tackle on Bike in the penalty area. Up stepped Mallory Swanson who sent Haught the wrong way with a low and hard finish into the bottom left corner to double Chicago's lead.

UTA: Cameron Tucker (Michele Vasconcelos) 81': A long ball from Del Fava found Vasconcelos free on the left flank allowing her to play a simple pass to Cameron Tucker who in turn cut inside and curled in a magnificent strike from 25 yards out beyond the reach of Naeher and into the top right corner to cut the deficit in half.

CHI: Penelope Hocking (Jameese Joseph) 97': Capitalizing on a turnover in midfield and on a counter attack, Jameese Joseph played a precise through ball to find Hocking who sprinted down towards the Royals goal side by side with three opposing defenders before knocking the ball past an onrushing Haught and finally sliding it into an empty net.

LINEUPS:

Utah Royals FC (4-3-3): Mandy Haught; Olivia Griffitts (Zoe Burns, 26'), Kate Del Fava, Lauren Flynn, Madison Pogarch; Mikayla Cluff (A. Nyberg, 63'), Amandine Henry, Dana Foederer; Paige Monaghan (B. Mozingo, 45'), Ally Sentnor (M. Vasconcelos, 79'), Hannah Betfort (C. Tucker, 45')

Subs not used: Addisyn Merrick, Cristina Roque, Emily Gray, Frankie Tagliaferri

Chicago Red Stars (4-2-3-1): Alyssa Naeher (M. Wood, 61'); Maxi Rall, N. Kuikka, Samantha Staab, T. Malham; L. Nesbeth (J. Bianchi, 90'), C. Roccaro, J. Bike (J. Joseph, 81'), A. Schlegel (S. Groom, 61'), P. Hocking; M. Swanson

Subs not used: H. Anderson, T. Milazzo, B. Franklin, S. Griffith, A. Cook

Stats Summary: UTA / CHI

Possession: 62% / 38%

Shots: 16 / 7

Shots on Goal: 8 / 4

Saves: 1 / 4

Corner Kicks: 3 / 1

Fouls: 9 / 9

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:

UTA: M. Cluff (Yellow card, 33'), A. Henry (Yellow card, 47'). 9 total fouls

CHI: No bookings. 9 total fouls


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National Women's Soccer League Stories from May 12, 2024


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