Utah Royals FC Earns Dramatic Draw in 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup Opener
HERRIMAN, Utah - Utah Royals FC (0-0-1, 1 point) scored first, but needed two late goals to earn a 3-3 draw with the Houston Dash in Utah's first match of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret.
Diana Matheson scored in her return to the pitch after missing the 2019 season to injury, then Vero Boquete and Tziarra King scored in the game's final seven minutes to see Utah come back from a 3-1 deficit to earn a point in the club's first match of the tournament.
Utah got out to an early lead on Matheson's first goal of the tournament. Lo'eau LaBonta led Amy Rodriguez into the box and Rodriguez crossed to Matheson for a first-time shot for the 1-0 lead in the 35th minute. Just before halftime, Houston equalized on a goal from Rachel Daly as the Dash forward gathered the ball and smashed a half-volley into the net to send the match into halftime at 1-1.
Daly would add a second just after halftime, getting on the end of a corner kick to make it 2-1 in the 47th minute. Shea Groom doubled the lead to 3-1 in the 67th minute, setting the stage for Utah's comeback effort. In the 83rd minute, Boquete notched her first URFC goal off a free kick to narrow the margin to 3-2. Then King scored in her professional debut,
UP NEXT: URFC will now face Sky Blue FC for an Independence Day clash at Zions Bank Stadium. Kickoff is set for 10:30a MT.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
UTA: Diana Matheson (Amy Rodriguez, Lo'eau LaBonta) 35th minute: Lo'eau LaBonta led Amy Rodriguez into the box up the right side and Rodriguez played a low ball across the middle for Diana Matheson coming across from the far side. Matheson weaved in front of the Houston defenders and played a first-time shot past Jane Campbell for the 1-0 lead.
HOU: Rachel Daly (Veronica Latsko) 45th minute +1: Veronica Latsko made a run up the left side and bounced a cross into Rachel Daly's path at the edge of the box. Daly took one touch, then smashed a half-volley into the net to equalize at 1-1.
HOU: Rachel Daly (Kristen Mewis) 47th minute: On an early second-half corner kick Kristen Mewis found Rachel Daly rising above the defense for a clean header for her second goal of the match and a 2-1 Houston lead.
HOU: Shea Groom (Katie Stengel) 67th minute: Katie Stengel got the ball up the left side of the box and played it back to Shea Groom just inside the box. Groom hit a left-footed shot inside the far post to extend the lead to 3-1.
UTA: Vero Boquete 82nd minute: After earning a free kick just outside the Houston penalty area, Vero Boquete hammered a shot past the Houston wall and inside the near post for her first URFC goal to narrow the deficit to 3-2.
UTA: Tziarra King (Vero Boquete) 89th minute: On a long free kick from the right side, Vero Boquete played a ball just inside the penalty spot. After bouncing past the first line of attackers, the ball fell to Tziarra King who nodded it back across goal and into the net to equalize at 3-3.
- The match marked the first at the helm for Head Coach Craig Harrington.
- Elizabeth Ball, Kate Del Fava, Tziarra King and Madeline Nolf each made their URFC debuts, with Ball starting and Del Fava, King and Nolf coming on as second-half substitutes.
- Diana Matheson and Brittany Ratcliffe earned the start in the match for their first URFC appearances since the 2018 season. Matheson missed the 2019 season with a left foot injury while Ratcliffe had a left knee injury.
- URFC played without Desiree Scott (personal leave), Kelley O'Hara (left quad), Mallory Weber (right quad) and Aminata Diallo (international quarantine).
Match: Utah Royals FC vs. Houston Dash
Date: June 30, 2020
Venue: Zions Bank Stadium; Herriman, Utah
Weather: Cloudy and 60 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Utah Royals FC 1 2 3
Houston Dash 1 2 3
UTA: Diana Matheson (Amy Rodriguez) 35'
HOU: Rachel Daly (Veronica Latsko) 45'+1
HOU: Rachel Daly (Kristen Mewis) 47'
HOU: Shea Groom 67'
UTA: Vero Boquete 82'
UTA: Tziarra King (Vero Boquete) 89'
Utah Royals FC (3-5-2): Abby Smith; Gunny JÃ³nsdÃ³ttir (Michelle Maemone 88'), Rachel Corsie, Elizabeth Ball; Katie Bowen (Kate Del Fava 62'), Lo'eau LaBonta, Vero Boquete, Diana Matheson (Madeline Nolf 88'), Raisa Strom-Okimoto (Taylor Lytle 62'); Brittany Ratcliffe (Tziarra King 69'), Amy Rodriguez.
Subs not used: Nicole Barnhart, Melissa Lowder, Gaby Vincent, Holly Daugirda, Taylor Leach, Marissa Sheva, Arielle Ship, Chestley Strother.
Houston Dash: (4-3-3): Jane Campbell; Megan Oyster, Katie Naughton, Erin Simon, Allysha Chapman; Haley Hanson, Shea Groom (CeCe Kizer 80'), Kristie Mewis; Rachel Daly, Katie Stengel (Jamia Fields 80'), Veronica Latsko (Christine Nairn 68').
Subs not used: Bridgette Andrzejewski, Amanda Dennis, Lindsey Harris, Maegan Kelly, Kayla McCoy, Cami Privett, Bri Visalli.
Stats Summary: UTA / HOU
Shots: 13 / 11
Shots on Goal: 5 / 4
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 7
Fouls: 9 / 9
Offside: 0 / 1
UTA: Amy Rodriguez (caution) 15'
HOU: Megan Oyster (caution) 81'
UTA: Diana Matheson (caution) 82'
Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referees: Brooke Mayo, Tom Felice
4th Official: Danielle Chesky
• Discuss this story on the National Women's Soccer League message board...
National Women's Soccer League Stories from June 30, 2020
- Dash Draw 3-3 with Utah Royals FC to Open NWSL Challenge Cup - Houston Dash
- NWSL Challenge Cup Preview: Wednesday, July 1 - Orlando Pride
- Ally Watt Ruled out of NWSL Challenge Cup with Knee Injury - North Carolina Courage
- Utah Royals FC Earns Dramatic Draw in 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup Opener - Utah Royals FC
- Last Week around the Leagues - OSC Original by Fran Stuchbury
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.