Utah Royals FC head coach Laura Harvey’s return to the Emerald City didn’t end in an ideal manner on Wednesday night.
The coach/general manager of Seattle Reign FC for five seasons before taking over in Utah, Harvey fell to her former squad thanks to a 54th-minute header from United States Women’s National Team star Megan Rapinoe, the difference-maker in a 1-0 Reign victory.
The loss was URFC’s second straight, and the club has collected just four points in its last five matches as it fights to stay in the postseason race. Now two-thirds of the way through the regular season, URFC remains four points out of the fourth and final playoff spot.
After a first half that saw Harvey’s side whiff on a couple of golden chances at goal, the Reign earned a corner kick from the right side early in the second. The ball sailed to the left side of the goal area, and Rapinoe headed it back toward the top right corner of the goal, and no URFC player could save it.
URFC couldn’t get a whole lot going offensively after that as the Reign came away with the three points, the club’s third straight win since playing to a draw against Utah at Rio Tinto Stadium two weeks ago.Comment on this story
Harvey on Wednesday was without the services of USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn, who was a late addition to the injury list because of a tibial stress reaction, as well as Diana Matheson, who was suspended because of a foul she committed last Friday against Portland Thorns FC.
URFC will return home for its next match, but it’ll be another quick turnaround, as the Orlando Pride will visit Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening. Should Sauerbrunn be out again, Utah will be without two center backs, as Sam Johnson will be suspended because she accumulated her fifth yellow card of the season on Wednesday night.