Amy Rodriguez scored in the 12th minute and the Utah Royals moved — for now — into the fourth and final playoff spot in the NWSL standings with a 1-0 victory over the Washington Spirit at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyd, Md., on Wednesday night.
Rodriguez received a pass from Christen Press in front of the Spirit goal, bumping the ball toward the goal with her thigh. Washington goalkeeper DiDi Haracic made the save, but the ball went right back to Rodriguez, who kicked it into the net for the game-winner.
The Royals outshot Washington 21-2 while dominating possession (59 percent to 41 percent) in the game. Eleven shots by the Royals were on target, while neither shot was for the Spirit.
Utah’s defense extended Washington’s scoreless streak to six games.
Wednesday marked Washington’s first game under interim coach Tom Torres after the firing of coach and GM Jim Gabarra. The Royals also defeated Washington 1-0 in a home game on Aug. 8.
The Royals are now off until Sept. 8, when they play their final regular-season game against Chicago at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.
The three team directly below the Royals in the standings — Chicago, Orlando and Houston — all have at least two regular-season games remaining.