Utah Royals FC Drop Season Opener To Chicago In Front Of Sold-Out Crowd

Mar 16, 2024, 7:30 PM

Utah Royals FC Chicago Red Stars Season Opener 2024...

(Photo courtesy of Utah Royals FC)

(Photo courtesy of Utah Royals FC)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Royals FC had its home opener spoiled by the Chicago Red Stars in front of a sold-out crowd at America First Field.

After the first half saw no scores, Chicago broke the seal in the 50th minute and added another in the 77th before securing the 2-0 win.

First Half

The Royals came out of the gates looking to make a statement.

Utah dominated possession in the opening ten minutes and did a great job of putting pressure on Chicago’s defense.

The Royals had a free kick, corner kick, and shot attempt while the Red Stars struggled to keep the ball in their attacking third.

No one looked more comfortable early on than rookie Ally Sentnor.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft came off the left wing and was able to create some pretty good looks. Sentnor took her first shot as a professional in the 15th minute but it missed to the right.

Three-year NWSL vet Hannah Betfort also made an early impact. The forward took two shots in the first 25 minutes and passed very well.

Utah played very methodically in the first half. The Royals had no issue with moving the ball around, even behind midfield. Whenever Chicago cut off a passing lane, Utah never forced the pass and took time to reset.

It wasn’t until after the 30th minute that Chicago built some momentum on offense. The Red Stars took three shots in four minutes but none found the mark.

In the 43rd minute, Chicago found a hole in the defense and attempted a cross but Royals goalkeeper Carly Nelson was able to clear the ball.

Ally Sentnor was shown a yellow card for a foul just before extra time was added.

Four minutes of stoppage time was added to the first half.

Neither team was able to get much going before the four minutes came to an end.

Chicago and Utah went into the break tied at 0.

Second Half

The Royals came out with a bit more aggression on defense and it immediately came back to bite them.

Just after Nádia Gomes missed an easy chip-in goal in the 48th minute, Chicago stayed on the attack and struck gold.

A great cross found Ally Schlegel in the middle and Schlegel’s header soared over Nelson and into the net.

The Chicago goal put some wind in Utah’s sails and they came back with a vengeance.

Betfort got off on a breakaway in the 54th minute and sent a shot to the bottom left corner but Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was able to make the diving save.

Paige Monaghan and Agnes Nyberg both got a shot off in the next two minutes. Monaghan’s attempt was blocked and Nyberg’s missed to the right.

Betfort had another shot attempt saved in the 58th minute. Even though Utah couldn’t find the back of the net, creating as many scoring opportunities as they did is a great sign.

Nyberg was shown a yellow card for a foul in the 62nd minute.

After a no-call that caused an uproar at AFF, Sentnor sent a missile toward the top of the goal from outside the box but Naeher made an impressive jumping save.

Utah made its first substitutions in the 69th minute, bringing in Brecken Mozingo and Cameron Tucker for Frankie Tagliaferri and Agnes Nyberg.

Chicago added to its lead shortly after the changes for Utah.

The Red Stars had numbers in the box following a breakaway and scored after the Utah deflection stayed in front of the net.

Ava Cook was the goal-scorer for Chicago.

In the 88th minute, Utah brought in Ify Onumonu for Paige Monghan.

Eight minutes of stoppage time was added to the end of the game.

The Royals spent the first couple of minutes of stoppage time in the attacking third. Mozingo and Dana Foederer both got a shot off but neither resulted in a goal.

Utah kept at it to try and get on the board but ultimately fell short and lost to Chicago, 2-0, in the season opener.

How To Watch Utah Royals FC, NWSL Matches In 2024

Like many other leagues, the NWSL broadcasts its games on a handful of channels and platforms.

TV options include CBS, ESPN, and ION network. Streaming options include Prime Video, Paramount+, ESPN+, and NWSL+.

Live radio calls of every game can be found on KSLSports.com. Select games will be broadcast on the KSL Sports Zone (97.5 FM/1280 AM) and KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM/1160 AM).

Check out where to watch each Utah Royals game here.

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow @kslsports

Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Utah Royals FC Drop Season Opener To Chicago In Front Of Sold-Out Crowd