Adam Fondren, Deseret News
The Utah Royals huddle before the start of the game as they host the Portland Thorns at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Saturday, April 28, 2018.
If we’re miles away from a win, I wouldn’t be frustrated at all, but we’re so close. —Laura Harvey

SANDY — A key indicator letting Utah Royals FC head coach Laura Harvey know that her team is knocking on the door of its first-ever victory is that she’s frustrated.

After expressing that emotion following URFC’s 1-1 draw last weekend at home against Portland Thorns FC, Harvey remained that way after she reviewed the game film and noted earlier this week that the team is “inches” away from three points.

“If we’re miles away from a win, I wouldn’t be frustrated at all, but we’re so close,” she said Tuesday after training at America First Field. “(Players) feel it, too, but we’ve had a good two days of training since then and we’re looking forward now.”

Midfielder Desiree Scott echoed that sentiment almost verbatim.

“I think Laura, she gets angry in the locker room, but it’s because we’re that close, and I think we know that we’re inches away from getting those three points,” she said. “I know we’re hungry for those three points. We’re almost there.”


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Up next for URFC Saturday night in first of two games in four days at Rio Tinto Stadium is the Washington Spirit, which sits just above Harvey’s side in the National Women’s Soccer League standings through the early part of the season with five points (URFC has four).

Given that the Spirit has scored seven goals but has just a 1-2-2 record to show for it, Harvey feels as though Saturday’s opponent could be feeling the same way she and her players are.

“I’m sure that they’re sitting in a similar boat to us, feel frustrated that they could have won more than they have,” Harvey said. “A young side coming in hungry is always hard to play against.”

Francisca Ordega leads Washington with three goals on the year, while United States Women’s National Team rising star Mallory Pugh, who just turned 20-years-old last Sunday, has two. Former BYU standout Ashley Hatch, who was traded to the Spirit by the North Carolina Courage in the offseason, has one, as does Joanna Lohman.

While Washington has scored seven goals thus far, it has given up eight, although four of those came in an April 14 loss to the Courage with two of them on set pieces.

Harvey said her side needs to be prepared to go on the counter-attack when the Spirit threatens to go forward but also needs to stay solid at the back like it has done up to this point.

“Prevention is better than cure,” Harvey said. “I think that you have to restrict teams like Washington to be able to get in behind you. I feel we’ve done a really good job of that this season, so that’s going to be the same again when we go out on Saturday.”

URFC is again expected to be mostly healthy Saturday, although its attack could be compromised, as forward Elise Thorsnes is questionable because of a hamstring issue that has bothered her throughout the week.

Start time is slated for 7 p.m. MT.