SANDY, UTAH (June 27, 2018) — Christen Press is officially a full-fledged member of Utah Royals FC.
The veteran forward made her debut for the Royals against Seattle Reign FC on Wednesday night. Despite sending seven shots in, with four ranging on goal, the Royals couldn’t capitalize. Instead, the Royals settled for a scoreless draw with Seattle.
Christen Press Debuts for Utah Royals in Scoreless Draw With Seattle Reign
Denying Press was Reign goalkeeper Michelle Betos. After sitting on the bench for the last four matches in favor of Lydia Williams, Betos took to the pitch again, recording six saves.
On the other end, Abby Smith of the Royals put in work as well, recording three saves. Smith denied shots from Megan Rapinoe and Jodie Taylor.
“We want to be tough to beat and I think we did a really good job with their offensive threat,” Smith said. “Rapinoe is a great player but a good majority of the team is great on the ball moving forward so we wanted to make sure that we were going to be hard to beat and I think we did a really good job with that.”
Smith also said that it’s “great” having Press on the field.
“Shes’ a great addition to our team,” Smith said.
Press has only been with the team for less than a week but is already feeling the chemistry strengthen.
“I think to build chemistry is the goal with any frontline,” Press explained. “I think there were enough opportunities in the game for us that could have won. That’s a good start. From there, for me as a forward, the biggest thing I always think about is that feeling on the field: ‘do your teammates trust you to score?’”
“I think that belief in of itself puts the ball in the back of the net,” Press continued. “That, of course, comes with time and you build that trust by finishing challenges. Today was ground zero and up we go.”
Tonight's Player of the Match is @MichelleBetos!
— Reign FC (@ReignFC) June 28, 2018
- The Sweden effect: The momentum that Press carried over in Sweden should continue in Utah. She looked comfortable in her debut up top with Amy Rodriguez and Katrina Gorry. With Göteborg FC, Press scored four goals in eight matches. She got playing time regularly. Now, with a new team, it’s up to Press to continue that trend.
- There’s some catching up to do: Utah isn’t in a bad place on the NWSL table, but if the season ended today the Royals would not be in the playoffs. There is some catching up to do after the slow start. However, that’s normal when you completely move a franchise to a new location, bring in players from the Boston Breakers dispersal draft and continue with mid-season trades.
- Johnson will wait for debut: While Press got to shine at Rio Tinto Stadium, Samantha Johnson will have to wait. Also acquired with Press from the Chicago Red Stars, Johnson was a star defender up north. However, she’s included on a roster with a talented backline already in front of her. Putting her together with Becky Sauerbrunn might be better than Rebecca Moros.
Christen hits a big cross, but it's barely missed by A-Rod! pic.twitter.com/MsdxlEEW8r
— Utah Royals FC (@UtahRoyalsFC) June 28, 2018