Utah Royals FC win in massive home game against Washington Spirit

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SANDY UT- JULY 17: Pregame activities before the International friendly game between Manchester United and Real Salt Lake were delayed due to inclement weather, which featured a double rainbow, at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 17, 2017 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

SANDY, UTAH (May 5, 2018) – “Thank God.” That was Laura Harvey’s reaction to the Utah Royals FC first win of the season over the Washington Spirit.

Kelley O’Hara scored her first goal of the season Saturday evening at the Rio Tinto Stadium.

Utah Royals FC return home to massive win over Washington Spirit

O’Hara got the Royals on the board against the Washington Spirit in the 7th minute. O’Hara’s goal was assisted by fellow U.S. Women’s National Team counterpart Amy Rodriguez.

Diana Matheson added to the lead in the 66th minute on an unassisted goal. After the match, Harvey said that she was “really pleased” with the victory.

“I thought we deserved it, and you could see from the players afterwards that it means a lot to get the first win,” Harvey said. “I think that from you know getting an early goal always helps.”

Matheson said the win provided a sort of relief for Utah, who featured in front of 7,551 fans.

“We thought we were going to get the win day one here and it didn’t come,” Matheson said. “It’s obviously stretched on longer than we wanted so I’m sure there is relief in there. Right now, it’s just excitement, positive, and then we’ve got a game Wednesday so hopefully build on that.”

“Hopefully the wins will start rolling now.”

In addition to the win, goalkeeper Abby Smith earned her second clean sheet of the season. “It’s incredible,” Smith said. “A great team effort. I feel like everybody put everything they had into this win and also to get the clean sheet. So, it’s a great feeling.”

Three Takeaways

  1. Kelley O’Hara’s role still debated: After the match, O’Hara noted that her role with the club — whether she’s a forward or defender — is debated. Right now, the versatile player is just doing what she can to help her club. However, for consistency purposes, Harvey has to find the right fit for her.
  2. Smith earns some confidence in goal: Another clean sheet for Abby Smith will certainly raise confidence in the former Boston Breakers goalkeeper. Right now, Smith is clicking with her defense.
  3. Jim Gabarra’s questionable substitution: After only 37 minutes on the pitch, Jim Gabarra made his first substitution, bringing Tori Huster off the pitch for Rebecca Quinn. Huster was visibly upset and didn’t look injured. No reports have come out with Huster on an injury list.

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