Royals Move Into First Place With Victory Over Orlando

May 25, 2019, 8:26 PM
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News...
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SANDY, Utah – Right from the get-go, it was clear that Utah Royals’ Amy Rodriguez was on her A-game against the Orlando Pride.

She ended up scoring the first goal of the game in the Royals’ 2-0 victory over Orlando, her fourth in as many games for Utah, but it was clear she easily could have scored two or three more times in the victory.

Less than two minutes into the match, Rodriguez took a long pass from a teammate and flicked a nice shot on goal. Somehow, Orlando goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer was able to get a fingertip on the ball while making a diving save to prevent the quick strike.

Still, Rodriguez remained aggressive and after her teammate, Vero Boquete, was fouled inside the box, she got a one-on-one chance against Kopmeyer on a penalty kick.

Rodriguez buried it to put the Royals up 1-0 in the 31st minute.

Most of the game was rather dreary as neither team got much going on offense. When there were moments though, Rodriguez was almost always involved.

She had another nice chance at her second goal of the game in the 83rd minute but her kick off a bouncing ball went just over the crossbar. She couldn’t have been more than a foot away from another goal.

Doniak Seals The Deal

The Royals nearly saw the winning three points nearly slip their fingers late in the match when Orlando penetrated the defense and took a pair of shot from inside the center of the box. Fortunately for the Royals, both of Orlando’s Caitlin Farrell’s shots were blocked by Utah defenders and the ball went back the other way.

On the counter attack, Makenzy Doniak, who missed the entire last season as a member of the North Carolina Courage with a torn ACL, doubled the Royals lead with a simple tap from inside the box.

It was the first goal of the season for Doniak, who had subbed into the game just 10 minutes earlier.

Doniak’s goal effectively put the nail in the coffin for Orlando, but all game it was Rodriguez who shined as the player of the match.

Royals goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart also turned in a nice game with a 3-save shutout, the 45th of her playing career.

With the win, the Royals took sole possession of first place in the NWSL standings with 13 points. Through six games, the Royals hold a record of 4-1-1.

Next Up

The Royals will next hit the road to face the Washington Spirit on Saturday at 5 p.m. Utah Royals FC matches can be streamed live on KSLSports.com or on the KSL TV app.



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