Image courtesy of The Washington Spirit

Spirit narrowly fall to Utah Royals FC 1-0 in first road test of season

News Release, Washington Spirit

Boyds, Md. (April 20, 2019) – The Washington Spirit fell 1-0 to Utah Royals FC after a nail-biting 90 minutes in Sandy, Utah Saturday night. The Spirit moved to 1-0-1 through two games of the 2019 NWSL season.

Utah nearly jumped ahead in the 3rd minute after a curler from Royals FC forward Christen Press cleared the crossbar. Utah’s aggressive start paid off soon after as the Royals found themselves up 1-0 in the 10th minute following a diagonal run from Press, who found Lo’eau Labonta on the side of the box who slotted her finish home.

Washington’s first chance to equalize came in the 15th minute from forward Mallory Pugh, who made a fast-paced run down the right flank and played a cross into the box that just missed the Spirit forwards inside the box. The ball was won back on the left and sent back in, but the chance flew just over striker Ashley Hatch’s head.

Washington created another close chance in the 41st minute when midfielder Amy Harrison played Pugh into space at the top of the box, but Pugh’s well-hit shot was saved by Nicole Barnhart.

The Spirit headed into halftime down, but not out. Possession between the two sides was close, with the Spirit owning 53 percent of the ball after 45 minutes. The Spirit were able to string together passes in the midfield, finishing the half with a pass accuracy of 84 percent.

The Spirit came out of the locker room firing, as midfielder Andi Sullivan collected the ball in an advanced position and made a smooth turn past a defender, she rifled a shot with her left foot, but it screamed just wide of the post. Midfielder Rose Lavelle had a great chance to equalize after the Spirit earned a free-kick just outside the box in the 77th minute. Lavelle struck the dead ball sweetly, but it whistled over the crossbar.

Washington’s best chance to equalize on the night came in the 84th minute after Lavelle found Pugh running into space inside the box. Pugh dribbled towards goal, but her left-footed shot was ultimately blocked by Barnhart.

The Spirit will return home to the Maryland SoccerPlex for their next game where they will take on Reign FC on Saturday, May 4 for Star Wars Night. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET, with gate D and the Fan Zone opening for all ticket holding fans at 5:30 p.m. and Gate A opening at 6 p.m. ET.

-NWSL Match Report-

Match: Washington Spirit vs. Utah Royals FC
Date: April 20, 2019
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
Weather: Low 60s, Partly Cloudy

Scoring Summary:


UTA – Lo’eau Labonta 10’


WAS (4-3-3): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 9-Tegan McGrady; 3-Sam Staab; 14-Paige Nielsen; 23-Tori Huster; 4-Jordan DiBiasi; 12-Andi Sullivan (c); 7-Amy Harrison (63’ 8-Meggie Dougherty Howard); 20-Cheyna Matthews (46’ 10-Rose Lavelle); 33-Ashley Hatch (78’-Megan Crosson); 11-Mallory Pugh

Unused Substitutes: 2-Arielle Ship; 17-Cali Farquharson; 19-Dorian Bailey; 30-Shae Yanez

UTA (4-3-3): 18-Nicole Barnhart; 19-Michelle Maemone (62’ 5-Kelley O’Hara ); 21-Veronica Boquete; 23-Christen Press; 66-Gunnhildur Yrsa Jonsottir; 8-Amy Rodriguez (59’ 24-Katie Stengel); 9-Lo’eau Labonta (79’ 7-Mandy Laddish); 11-Desiree Scott; 2-Rachel Corsie; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn; 6-Katie Bowen

Image courtesy of The Washington Spirit

Unused Substitutes: 1-Abby Smith; 13-Makenzy Doniak; 14-Gaby Vincent’ 15-Erika Tymrak

Stats Summary: WAS / UTA

Shots: 11 / 6
Shots on Goal: 4 / 2
Saves: 2 / 3
Blocked Shots: 3 / 3
Fouls: 9 / 8
Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary:

WAS – Cheyna Matthews 26’ – Yellow Card

Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Jeffrey Swartzel
Fourth Official: Joshua D Mills

The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.

To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at

Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II

© 2019 The Southern Maryland Chronicle. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.