CHICAGO – For the first time in 2018, the Red Stars will travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to take on the newest addition to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), Utah Royals FC on Saturday, April 14. The match will be broadcast live as Lifetime’s Game of the Week at 2:30 p.m. CT.
In the first two weeks of play, Utah has yet to produce their first victory as the newcomer to the league, drawing against Orlando (1-1) and Houston (0-0).
In the season opener against Orlando, Utah Royals FC scored the earliest goal of the season so far, as Gunnhildur Yrsa Jonsdottir tallied in the third minute of play. Despite Utah’s strong, early performance, Orlando equalized nearly 20 minutes later with a penalty kick from Marta. Those first-half goals would be the only two tallies of the match.
The next week, Utah ended a scoreless match against Houston. Despite Utah Royals’ six shots on goal to the Dash’s zero and over 65% possession, no one was able to beat the keeper to notch the victory.
Previously located in Kansas City, Utah Royals FC is led by two-time NWSL Coach of the Year and former Seattle Reign FC coach, Laura Harvey. Under new management, the roster had undergone multiple changes.
Adding depth in the backline, Utah traded for U.S. Women’s National Team defender Kelley O’Hara, joining three-time NWSL Defender of the Year and WNT captain, Becky Sauerbrunn. The team also gained goalkeeper Abby Smith during the Dispersal Draft, who has played in the net during both matches this season. Without the striking force of Sydney Leroux (trade: Orlando) up front, Utah added Icelandic midfielder Jonsdottir and Boston forward Katie Stengel.
Last season when playing as FC Kansas City, Chicago finished with a 1-1-1 record. During the first match, Julie Ertz tallied the only goal of the match in the Red Stars home opener. Later in the season, FCKC turned the tables and notched a 3-1 victory as Leroux, Katie Bowen and Maegan Kelly scored, while Ertz became the lone scorer for Chicago. The final match of the season ended in a scoreless draw, eliminating FCKC from the 2017 NWSL Playoffs.
After a trip to Utah, the Red Stars will turn right around and host a mid-week match on Wednesday, April 18, against Houston Dash. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on the NWSL app and go90 app.