Utah Royals FC Hold High-Flying North Carolina Courage Scoreless

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Utah Royals FC Hold High-Flying North Carolina Courage Scoreless

SANDY, UTAH (July 20, 2018) — It must be those new gold uniforms.

The North Carolina Courage only suffered one loss this entire season. The loss occurred back on June 16.

Utah Royals FC Hold High-Flying North Carolina Courage Scoreless

Who was the victor?

The Utah Royals FC.

Ever since the loss, the Courage have bounced back to the club’s undefeated ways. North Carolina won five-straight matches before traveling to the Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday. While the club’s unbeaten streak — the second this season — is still alive, the win-streak is over.

North Carolina and the Royals fought hard, but the match ended in a scoreless draw. Both sides were missing key players due to the upcoming international break for the Tournament of Nations.

However, other players stepped up. North Carolina led the attack, taking 21 total shots compared to only five from Utah.

For North Carolina, four shots went on goal, courtesy of Abby Erceg, Kristen Hamilton and Lynn Williams. Defender Katie Bowen had the lone shot on goal for the Utah Royals.

After the match, Bowen said that Utah had a “strict game plan.”

“We knew they had a lot of pace up front so we knew to give ourselves some space because the likes of [Lynn] Williams and [Jessica] McDonald are class players,” Bowen said. “We kept a clean sheet, Barnie [Nicole Barnhart] had an absolutely awesome game and we are stoked to have a clean sheet.”

Barnhart Gets Start in Goal

The clean sheet is new for Utah.

The club hasn’t had a clean-sheet victory since upsetting the Courage in June. But at the end of June, they did hold the Seattle reign scoreless in a 0-0 tie.

However, it’s been a shaky season for Abby Smith. For the first time last weekend, during Utah’s loss to the Orlando Pride, Royals Head Coach Laura Harvey did not stand up for her goalkeeper.

This weekend, Barnhart — a former starter for FC Kansas City — received plenty of praise for her performance. The veteran goalkeeper made four saves.

“Barnie is a world class keeper,” Bowen said. “It was a little different for me because I had played two years with her in Kansas – this is my first year with Abby [Smith] – I think her and I have a great relationship. Barnie came in, she stepped up and made some really big-time saves tonight so I am really proud of her.”

Harvey said that Utah has a “luxury” having both goalkeepers. She also mentioned having confidence in both players.

“We are so lucky to have [Barnhart],” Harvey said. “I’ve said it all season that she is an ultra professional. She knows exactly what it takes to play at this level, she is pushing Abby [Smith] every single day, and you saw tonight, experience takes over with her. She knows when to control the game, when to play quick, when to slow the game down.”

Defender Rebecca Moros said that Utah has “two of the best ‘keepers in the league and world” on the Royals roster.

“Barnie is phenomenal, she is incredibly professional and she didn’t skip a beat,” Moros said. “You would never know that this is her first game in a while. She was awesome, our communication was great, she is very composed and calm, and she is just a phenomenal shot stopper too.”

“She did great for us.”

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