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Match Coverage

Friday night lights: Utah Royals FC host the North Carolina Courage

The Utah Royals face a major test against the North Carolina Courage.

Friday night lights: Utah Royals FC host the North Carolina Courage

Match Details:

Utah Royals FC vs. North Carolina Courage America First Field | 7:30pm MT

WATCH on NWSL+ or KMYU locally (2.2 over-the-air, 12 on Dish and DirecTV, 22, 643 on COMCAST and 20 on Baja Cable [St. George]).

LISTEN on KSL Sports Radio (97.5 FM / 1280 FM)

After a disappointing loss against the Chicago Red Stars, losing 2-0 last Saturday, the Utah Royals continue their return to the NWSL with a Friday evening game, hosting the North Carolina Courage. It will be a major test for the young Utah squad, taking on a Courage team that is coming off a 5-1 victory game against the Houston Dash in their season opener. North Carolina is currently at the top of the NWSL standings.

What we're watching

The scoreline last week against Chicago did not quite tell the entire story of the matchup. Utah controlled the first 20 minutes of the game and dominated possession (67.5%), passing accuracy (82.4%), and shots (19 to 10). Utah ranked first among NWSL teams last week in possession and passing accuracy. But games are not won on paper, and how Utah was unable to make the final touches was what made a difference. Well, that and facing a world-class goalkeeper in Alyssa Naeher, who saved all five shots on target. The Royals, despite last week's loss, built a foundation of how effective they could be, if they just can be clinical enough.

There is room to grow, and the team has plenty of young talent with Ally Sentnor and Madison Pogarch. This week, it will key for experienced players like Imani Dorsey, Carly Nelson, Kate Del Fava, and Paige Monaghan to make a difference for Utah against a strong North Carolina team. Facing the Courage will be a test for Utah, and everyone is aware of that, especially after North Carolina's performance last week. North Carolina has a relentless press and win back the ball, forcing teams to be caught by surprise in their counter-attack. For Utah, maintaining possession will be important.

Fun fact

This matchup vs. the North Carolina Courage puts head coach Amy Rodriguez vs. her former NWSL team as a player, her last club before retirement after the 2021 season.

Score Prediction

It's tough to predict a win for Utah against a very good North Carolina team, but the Royals will not make it easy. 2-1, Courage.

Injury Report

OUT: Zoe Burns (hip), Cristina Roque (hand)

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