CHICAGO — The Chicago Red Stars head on the road to take on Utah Royals FC at Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday, May 3 at 8:30 p.m. CT. Chicago is coming off a weekend that earned them three points, three goals and a shutout against a talented Reign FC side and will look to continue that trend in Utah.
Here’s what you need to know about our upcoming opponent:
The Royals kept most of the team they had from their inaugural season in 2018, which includes former U.S. WNT forward Amy Rodriguez and former Red Star Samantha Johnson, who was acquired from Chicago in a mid-season trade for Brooke Elby and draft picks last season.
The lone offseason acquisition for the Royals was former Spanish legend and Chicago Red Stars player Veronica Boquete. After leaving the NWSL in 2014, Boquete returned to Europe winning major trophies like the UEFA Women’s Champions League and Bundesliga with 1. FFC Frankfurt and Bayern Munich respectively. The midfielder joined Utah after a stint with Chinese club Beijing BG Pheonix.
The Royals have not conceded a goal this season and that’s in large part due to goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. She made two stops in the team’s opening game against the Spirit and stopped three more shots against Orlando last Saturday.
The Royals have won both games they’ve played this season by a scoreline of 1-0. They opened their campaign at home against Washington. Lo’eau LaBonta’s early strike was enough for the win in Week 1. Against the Pride, it was Christen Press who scored an early goal to earn all three points for Utah.
In three games between Chicago and Utah last season, Chicago won the first two matchups before Utah got their lone win of the series on the last week of the 2018 NWSL regular season. In their first game at Rio Tino Stadium, the Utah faithful were silenced thanks to a terrific goal from Danielle Colaprico. In July, Katie Naughton and Vanessa DiBernardo’s goals sunk the Royals in a 2-0 victory for the Red Stars. Chicago took the lead again against the Royals in the regular season finale, but second-half goals from Amy Rodriguez and Katie Stengel gave Utah the comeback victory.
Fun Stat to Know
Utah is the only team yet to concede a goal in the NWSL this season.