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Year 2 is booked: Utah Royals FC release their 2019 NWSL regular season schedule

In Women’s World Cup year, each NWSL club will be thinned during summer months

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Royals FC's Christen Press (21) celebrates a goal with Utah Royals FC midfielder Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir (23) as the Utah Royals host Sky Blue FC at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Saturday June 30, 2018.

Spring is around the corner, meaning the rest of 2019 is promised to be jam-packed with matches at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. On Thursday, the NWSL announced full-season schedules for each of its clubs, including Utah Royals FC.

The Royals, who finished fifth in their inaugural season at 9-8-7 a year ago, have a Week 1 bye due to the odd number of clubs, meaning they’ll instead make their 2019 debut at home on Saturday, April 20, at Rio Tinto Stadium against the Washington Spirit. Kickoff for the season-opener is scheduled for 7 p.m. The 24-game season is, once again, evenly split with 12 home and away matches. The Royals will face each club three times in 2019.

Four of Utah’s first six matches of 2019 are at Rio Tinto. Several former in-state talents will be in town to face off against the Royals during that stretch including former BYU star Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), fellow former BYU star Michele Vasconcelos (Chicago Red Stars) and former Alta High product Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash).

Utah faces reigning NWSL champ, the North Carolina Courage, for the first time on Sunday, May 19, on the road. The Royals were the only team in NWSL to beat the league-best Courage a season ago.

It is a FIFA Women’s World Cup year, as well, so all NWSL clubs will be heavily affected as their big-name players who eventually get the call for their respective countries will be on international duty for a large portion of the season. The 2019 World Cup in France runs from June 7 to July 7. The Royals will likely be missing a significant portion of its core. U.S. women’s national team staples Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Christen Press will likely be part of the USWNT World Cup squad.

Other potential Royals who could make World Cup rosters include Scottish defender Rachel Corsie as well as Canadians Desiree Scott and Diana Matheson. A key addition this offseason was the signing of 31-year-old Spanish midfielder Veronica Boquete. Utah returns goal-scorers Amy Rodriguez and Katie Stengel, who led the Royals in goals scored a year ago with six. While they could likely be without a star playmaker like Press for an extended period of time due to this summer’s World Cup, the Royals will benefit from having a dynamic talent for most of the season. Last summer, the Royals acquired Press in June.

In their first year in the NWSL, the Royals had the league’s second-highest attendance during the regular season. They averaged 9,466 fans per home game.

UTAH ROYALS 2019 SCHEDULE


Saturday, April 20 vs. Washington Spirit

Saturday, April 27 at Orlando Pride

Friday, May 3 vs. Chicago Red Stars

Saturday, May 11 vs. Houston Dash

Sunday, May 19 at North Carolina Courage

Saturday, May 25 vs. Orlando Pride

Saturday, June 1 at Washington Spirit

Saturday, June 15 vs. Sky Blue FC

Friday, June 21 at Portland Thorns

Friday, June 28 vs. Reign FC

Friday, July 12 at Sky Blue FC

Friday, July 19 vs. Portland Thorns

Saturday, July 27 vs. North Carolina Courage

Saturday, Aug. 3 at Chicago Red Stars

Wednesday, Aug. 7 vs. Sky Blue FC

Sunday, Aug. 11 at Reign FC

Saturday, Aug. 17 at Orlando Pride

Wednesday, Aug. 21 at Washington Spirit

Friday, Sept. 6 vs. Portland Thorns

Friday, Sept. 13 at Houston Dash

Wednesday, Sept. 18 at Reign FC

Saturday, Sept. 21 vs. North Carolina Courage

Saturday, Sept. 28 at Chicago Red Stars

Saturday, Oct. 12 vs Houston Dash

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