Sandy • Maybe the Women’s World Cup isn’t over after all.
In a 2-2 draw between the Utah Royals FC and the Portland Thorns on Friday in front of nearly 16,000 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium, every player who scored a goal played in the international tournament.
Christen Press of the United States and Rachel Corsie of Scotland scored for the Royals, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Christine Sinclair of Canada and Lindsey Horan of the U.S. found the back of the net for the Thorns.
“This league is the most competitive, it’s the most exciting, it’s the most dramatic every week because of the level of talent we have in it,” Royals coach Laura Harvey said.
Despite the star power, however, neither team came away with the three points it wanted. It was the second time this season a game between Utah and Portland ended in a draw.
“We’re disappointed not to take all three [points],” center back Corsie said. “I think we created enough opportunities in the game.”
Just eight days ago, the Royals prepared to welcome back all six of its players that were away for more than two months competing in the Women’s World Cup. That day finally came Friday.
When it looked like the Royals were staring at the business end of a three-game losing streak, Corsie found the back of the net in the 90th minute by sliding into a cross in the box. Lindsey Horan, who plays for the United States Women’s National Team, gave Portland a 2-1 lead just minutes earlier off a set piece.
Utah had two chances to win the game in stoppage time, but both attempts were saved by Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.
URFC 2, THORNS 2
• Every goal scored was by a player who competed in the Women’s World Cup
• Utah Royals FC snap two-game losing streak
• Royals outshoot Thorns 9-1 in second half
Mandy Laddish got hit in the head with the ball early into the first half. Two trainers escorted her off the field and through a tunnel of the stadium, leaving the Royals with just 10 players for a couple of minutes. That’s all Portland needed to take advantage, as Sinclair gave the Thorns a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.
In the 43rd minute, Press received a pass from Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir to the left wing. Press, with one woman to beat, nutmegged her defender and took a shot at Franch. The ball went near the post and into the goal for a 1-1 tie.
“To me, I want to get the ball the forwards at all costs,” Jónsdóttir said of her assist. “She finished that amazingly. So that was good.”
Utah put constant pressure on Portland’s defense — particularly Franch — throughout the second half. Not even one minute into the second 45, a long pass put Amy Rodriguez with only Franch to beat. But the USWNT backup keeper stopped her.
The Royals outshot the Thorns 9-1 in the second half alone, and tallied five corner kicks after recording none in the first 45 minutes.
The Royals had lost two of their previous three matches, one of those being a tie to a similar Thorns team.
After two-plus months away with the USWNT, with the rigors of travel and a lavish victory parade, Press said she felt that she never really got her legs back throughout the game. She also said she has been sick lately and has also been readjusting to Utah’s altitude. But Press thinks only good things are on the horizon.
“I think that next week, I think all of the players are going to feel a lot better,” Press said. “I think that in the next few weeks, the level of the league is going to rise and that’s exactly what we want.”