A loss to Portland almost made Laura Harvey quit coaching. Now she’s facing the team again, as leader of the Utah Royals.

Laura Harvey almost gave up on her NWSL coaching career on the steps outside Providence Park in June 2013.

“I can’t do this,” she remembers telling people after the Seattle Reign’s ninth straight loss, 2-0 to the Portland Thorns. “I’m done. I’m going to leave.”

It was in league’s inaugural season and two months into it, Harvey’s team had yet to win a match. On Friday, the now-Utah Royals coach returns to Portland’s Providence Park with a new team and new outlook.

“I think that as a group we’re in a really good place right now,” Harvey said of the Royals, “where we’re in this balancing point of actually talking about the finer details of who we are rather than the real generic things that you do when you first get a team.”

The circumstances under which she took on each coaching job were different. When Harvey was hired as the Royals manager in November, the two-time NWSL coach of the year was regarded as one of the best in the league. After five years at the helm in Seattle, she knew the NWSL as well as anyone, and in Utah, she inherited FC Kansas City’s roster as a starting point.

In 2013, she started from scratch. Harvey had left Arsenal for the promise of something new. When she arrived in Seattle, she found out how new.

In addition to everything Seattle had to throw together — finding an office space, designing a kit, hiring the majority of the staff — Harvey had to assemble a team after arriving from England with little knowledge of the American game: “I didn’t understand the draft at all,” Harvey recalled.

She started with seven allocated players: two from Canada, two from Mexico, and Megan Rapinoe, Amy Rodriguez and Hope Solo from the United States.

“So on paper, you’re like, ‘Great,’” Harvey said.

The Reign began the season without any of their U.S. players. Rodriguez was out on maternity leave, Solo underwent wrist surgery, and Rapinoe was playing in France. The Reign went winless for 11 games.

“We were just so close to being really good,” Harvey said of the Reign in that fateful 2013 Portland match. “I feel like here we’ve already established ourselves as being very, very good without the ball and we just need to keep converting our chances when we create them. And that’s something that’s an evolution every single day and every single week. So yeah, I do feel like it’s a very different place that I’m in and this team’s in for sure.”

UTAH ROYALS AT PORTLAND THORNS<br>When • Friday, 8:30 p.m.<br>TV • KMYU

On Friday, Harvey returns to Providence Park without the rivalry that Seattle and Portland have. But her feelings towards the Thorns haven’t changed. She brings with her a squad on a five-match unbeaten streak.

“Having gone through that [2013 season] I know that this league’s tough,” Harvey said. “I know that it’s really hard, but I know that we’re in a really good position to keep moving forward.”