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Utah Royals FC Draw With Portland Thorns In Final Home Game Of 2020

Utah Royals FC forward Amy Rodriguez (8) dribbles the ball against Portland Thorns FC defender Emily Menges (5) during an NWSL soccer game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (Yukai Peng, Deseret News)

SANDY, Utah – Utah Royals FC played one of the best teams in the league, Portland Thorns FC to a 1-1 draw in the final game at Rio Tinto Stadium in 2020.

The Royals jumped out to a 1-0 lead quickly when Amy Rodriguez found the back of the net. Portland equalized in the 59th minute when Christine Sinclair tapped the ball into the goal.

In the 9th minute, Rodriguez was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. A teammate attempted a shot at the Portland Thorns goalkeeper when the ball was deflected and landed at the feet or Rodriguez who just had to tap the ball into the back of the net.

That gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in the first 9 minutes of the match.

The Thorns equalized in the second half when Christine Sinclair found the back of the net off of a deflection. That tied the match at one in the 59th minute.

In the 72nd minute, Tziarra King nearly scored from 17-yards away but the ball hit the crossbar.

The Royals are still looking for their first win of the NWSL Fall Series after playing the OL Reign to a 2-2 draw last Saturday and falling to Portland in the Pacific Northwest, 3-0 on Sunday, September 20.

They hosted the entire league for the NWSL Challenge Cup over the summer. Every team but the Orlando Pride participated. In group play, the Royals tied with Houston, 3-3, beat Sky Blue FC, 1-0, lost to OL Reign, 1-0 and was defeated by the Chicago Red Stars, 1-0 before being eliminated by Houston in penalty kicks in the knockout stage.

Utah will play their final match of the season on Saturday, October 17 on the road against OL Reign.