Utah Royals Beat North Carolina Courage For First Win Of Season

Mar 22, 2024, 9:41 PM | Updated: Mar 25, 2024, 1:39 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Royals held off the North Carolina Courage in the second half to claim their first victory of the 2024 NWSL season.

Utah Royals beat North Carolina Courage

The Royals hosted the Courage at America First Field in Sandy, Utah on Friday, March 22.

Utah defeated North Carolina, 2-1.

The match was an improved performance from the Royals’ season-opening loss to the Chicago Red Stars a week earlier.

In the opening minutes of the contest, Utah was on the attack and continually pushed the ball into North Carolina’s defending third of the field.

In the 15th minute, the Royals earned their first corner kick of the night and they took advantage of the opportunity.

Kate Del Fava jumped into the air for the ball after it was sent sailing into the box. The defender buried it into the back of the net with a header to give the Royals their first lead of the season at 1-0 with her goal.

The Courage leveled the match with a goal by Ashley Sanchez in the 26th minute.

However, in the 30th minute of action, No. 1 overall pick Ally Sentnor connected on a kick that cruised off her foot and into the back of the net. Sentnor’s strike resulted in her first career NWSL goal and gave Utah the lead once again at 2-1.

The Royals held off the Courage for the remainder of the half and took the lead into the locker room.

After the break, North Carolina saw multiple scoring chances within the first 15 minutes of the second half.

In the 58th minute, Utah’s Agnes Nyberg was called for a foul inside the box and the Courage were given the game’s first penalty kick.

Royals goalkeeper Mandy Haught dove to her right and blocked Malia Berkely’s PK in the 58th minute.

After the deflection, Utah’s Addisyn Merrick was called for another foul inside the box, giving North Carolina another chance for an equalizer.

Then, Haught dove to her left and halted another penalty kick by Berkely.

Haught’s big saves kept Utah’s lead intact in the 59th minute of action.

The Royals fended off pushes by the Courage throughout the rest of the second half to earn their first win of the season, as well as their second stint in Utah.

Next Match for Utah Royals FC

With the win, the Royals improved to a 1-0-1 record this season.

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

Utah’s next match is on the road against the Washington Spirit on Sunday, March 31 at 11 a.m. (MT). The game will be broadcast on KMYU, NWSL+KSL Sports Zone, and KSLSports.com.

About Utah Royals FC

The Royals announced the club’s return to Utah and the National Women’s Soccer League for the 2024 season in March 2023.

Originally founded in November 2017, the Royals played in Utah from 2018-20. The franchise was moved to Kansas City in 2020 and plays in Missouri under the “Currents” nickname.

The Royals were first established in Sandy, Utah as an NWSL expansion club. The team played as the Royals for three seasons and held its home matches at America First Field, formerly known as Rio Tinto Stadium, which was also the home of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake.

In December 2020, the NWSL announced that the Royals would cease to operate in Utah and the club’s players were transferred to Kansas City.

In January 2022, a new Real Salt Lake ownership group, led by David Blitzer and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, took hold of the option to bring an NWSL club back to the state.

The Royals kicked off their second stint in Utah on March 16.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. Listen to Ireland on Yards After College: An NFL Podcast. Follow him on X (@kyleireland), Threads (@kyleirelandksl), and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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Utah Royals Beat North Carolina Courage For First Win Of Season