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OCT 27
3:30 PM ET
ESPN
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Rodriguez, Heath score as Utah and Portland tie 1-1
Utah Royals FC still in search of first NWSL win

Utah Royals FC earned their first-ever home point on Saturday night with a 1-1 draw vs. Portland Thorns FC. Utah drew a crowd of 8,446 for their second-ever home game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

The home side scored their first home goal in the 53rd minute thanks to a brilliant individual effort from forward Amy Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, in her first start of the season, ran down a long ball and won it away from Thorns defender Kelli Hubly. Rodriguez dribbled into the box, made Thorns goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom miss, stayed with it and calmly slotted into the left side of the goal with her right foot, beating defender Meghan Klingenberg, who was back covering with Eckerstrom out of net.

 

 

It’s Rodriguez’s first goal since last year’s season opener for FC Kansas City, the game in which she tore her ACL. Rodriguez was subbed out minutes after the goal, her longest appearance of the season so far.

The Thorns equalized 14 minutes later when Tobin Heath took a stellar touch to score her first goal of the season. After a turnover in midfield, Christine Sinclair found Heath open at the top of the penalty area. Heath took a touch and then chipped it over Utah goalkeeper Abby Smith with her right foot.

Heath subbed into the game in the 57th minute for her second appearance of the year and scored ten minutes later.

Andressinha — playing in her first game for the Thorns — forced the turnover in midfield after subbing in just the 64th minute. Andressinha was traded from Houston to Portland this offseason, but missed the first four weeks as Brazil qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

New Utah Royals FC midfielder Katrina Gorry subbed into the match in the 62nd minute, her first minutes since signing with the team this offseason. Gorry spent the first four weeks of the season helping Australia qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Utah defender Becky Sauerbrunn came up big on a few defensive plays in the game, including a blocked shot on Sinclair in the 20th minute.

 

Fans at the stadium, including both Utah Royals FC and Portland Thorns FC supporter groups, observed a minute of silence from 8:00 to 8:59 in honor of Lo’eau LaBonta‘s brother, who passed away this week.

Utah Royals FC are still in search of their first-ever win and hold a 0-1-4 record. The Thorns are 2-1-1 through five weeks of the season.

Utah Royals FC will play their next three games at home, starting on Saturday vs. the Washington Spirit. Portland will host Seattle Reign FC on Saturday afternoon in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.

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