Here are three takeaways from the Utah Royals FC’s 2-0 road win over the Orlando Pride.
1. Utah’s scoring has officially become a trend
There’s a saying: Once is chance, twice is coincidence, third time it’s a pattern.
That can now be how his run for the Royals can be described. A strong start turned into an abysmal six-game winless streak, raising questions about whether the team could score and defend in the same game. But in the last three, the Royals are doing just that.
Eight goals in six games. Only one goal conceded in those same three games. Goals coming not just from Christen Press and Amy Rodriguez (although most are coming from those two). And they have a playoff spot to show for it now.
But one thing is for sure: The form with which Utah has been playing recently is likely to continue. The Royals have found something in their attack, specifically putting Katie Stengel in more of a midfielder role.
And with Gunnhildur Jonsdottir working as a defense sub to close out games, coupled with Mallory Weber more than making up for Kelley O’Hara’s absence at outside back due to injury, the Royals look primed to make a run for their final seven games of the regular season.
2. Left side, strong side
The Royals did a good job all evening in the attack, getting quality opportunity after quality opportunity. Many of those opportunities started from the left side of the field.
The first two scoring chances that came from Press were initiated on that side. In the first, Press took on several defenders and found space to her left before taking the shot. It was saved, but it was a prologue for what occurred a few minutes later.
Press dribbled the ball up the left side again, this time a little bit wider. Rather than look for a shot herself, she crossed into Stengel, who was waiting near the penalty spot. Stengel attempted to put the ball on frame, but her shot went over the crossbar.
Those are only two examples, but Utah got something good in both instances. It will be intestine to see if the team features that side of the field going forward.
3. Press and Rodriguez need a nickname
For the second straight time, the two strikers in coach Laura Harvey’s 4-1-2-1-2 formation scored in the same match. It looks as though the pairing, which started only this season, is starting to find a way not only to coexist, but to flourish.
And when a dynamic duo emerges, that duo gets a pithy nickname. The first that comes to mind is ChrisRod. Or maybe PressRod. There’s always C-Rod and P-Rod. Or A-C Striker.
Any ideas, Royals fans?