I think it’s just about the passion that you bring. We go out there and we just try and get stuck in and we put our bodies on the line. Our size doesn’t matter. —Utah Royals FC midfielder Desiree Scott
SANDY — Nearly a third of the way through the National Women’s Soccer League’s regular season, much of the conversation surrounding Utah Royals FC has centered on the strength of the back line and the struggles of the players up front to provide much scoring punch.
Last week after URFC played to a 0-0 draw against the Orlando Pride at Rio Tinto Stadium, head coach Laura Harvey made special note of the players in the center of the pitch who have to be concerned with both defense and offense. She said they dominated in the second half.
The primary midfield group, consisting of Gunny Jonsdottir, Katrina “Mini” Gorry and Desiree Scott, is smaller than most around the league. They are 5-foot-5, 5-1 and 5--3, respectively, but make up for their lack of size with grit and toughness.
“You counter (lack of size) by the way that you play and the way that you compete, and I think that’s what both Mini and Desi do, is they compete in a different way, which I think you have to be able to do if you just don’t have that size to go with it,” Harvey said Tuesday after her team trained at America First Field.
The trio is still getting used to playing together. Jonsdottir started the season as a forward before Gorry arrived in April after competing for the Australian National Team, but the group has already started devising a system in which the taller Jonsdottir plays headers while the other two focus on trying to win balls.
“Our stature may be small but our bite is strong,” said Scott, who has the nickname of The Destroyer. “I think it’s just about the passion that you bring. We go out there and we just try and get stuck in and we put our bodies on the line. Our size doesn’t matter. I think we love to get in a good tackle, and we pride ourselves on that.”
In a sense, Scott serves as the stabilizing force of the midfield. More defensive-minded, her presence allows Jonsdottir and especially Gorry to get more involved in the attack.
“I think I’ve just had to come in and kind of adapt to a new playing style,” Gorry said. “Desi and Gunny have made it pretty easy to adapt to that. Just learning how they play and trying to play off them. Obviously they make it pretty easy just holding the line a little bit and letting me have a bit of a free run.”
Jonsdottir says the variety of skills the trio possess is giving them more versatility.
“I think we’re good at just balancing each other out,” she said. “We’ve got a really good blend. Of course it takes a couple games, but I feel like we’re getting better and better in each game.”