Utah Royals FC Defeat Orlando Pride 2-0
Chioma Ubogagu (center, Orlando Pride) attempts a shot as Desiree Scott (left, Utah Royals FC) and Katie Bowen (right, Utah Royals FC) attempt to close her down. Photo: Hannah di Lorenzo

Utah Royals FC Defeat Orlando Pride 2-0

The Royals won their third straight match and completed a season sweep of the Pride in Alex Morgan's return.

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Jessica Guan

The Utah Royals FC took three points off the last place Orlando Pride on Saturday night to leap into fourth place of the NWSL standings.

Press on fire

After winning her second World Cup, Christen Press has been on fire for the Royals, and tonight was certainly no exception. In the 16th minute, she dribbled the ball from the midfield all the way to the edge of the six-yard box - her speed proving to be too much for Orlando's midfield and defense to handle. She took a shot from the left corner of the six-yard box, but her USWNT teammate Ashlyn Harris made the save.

Three minutes later, Press dribbled to the left side of the box where she cut in a cross, but Katie Stengel volleyed it high and wide.

In the 29th minute, Press played Rodriguez through on goal, but the former USWNT striker's shot hit the post. It fell out to Stengel who placed her shot directly in the arms of Harris.

The Pride countered in the 35th minute. A long ball was played in behind to Chioma Ubogagu in a one-versus-three situation. However, Nicole Barnhart smothered her attempt to keep the match scoreless.

Rachel Hill cut in a cross to Marisa Viggiano in the 41st minute, but her shot curled just wide.

Press and Rodriguez propel Utah to victory

In the 59th minute, Hill displayed some fancy footwork to create a scoring opportunity all by herself, but her curling shot from outside the box narrowly missed the upper right corner.

The connection between Press and fellow Stanford University alum Lo'eau LaBonta produced the game winner in the 60th minute. LaBonta chipped the ball behind the Pride's defense for Press to one-time into the back of the net.

The number eight of the Royals, Amy Rodriguez, grabbed her eighth goal of the season in the 77th minute thanks to an assist from Spanish international Veronica Boquete. Vero played a through ball to Rodriguez to set her up in a one-versus-one position. The leading scorer for the Royals this season successfully chipped the ball over Harris this time although Harris did deflect it with her hand.

In the 80th minute, Hill missed another chance to get on the score sheet when she came sliding in to connect with a cross from a teammate but skied her shot.

In the first minute of stoppage time, Orlando's defense was nowhere to be found when Canadian international Desiree Scott crossed the ball to Rodriguez who was wide-opened in front of the goal. Looking for her second goal of the match, she drilled her shot right at Harris.

Both sides will now hit the road for midweek matches. The Utah Royals FC (8-6-3) will face the Washington Spirit, and the Orlando Pride (3-11-2) will battle the Chicago Red Stars.

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