HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – After a strong start to the tournament, the Utah Royals are limping into the knockout round.
Casey Short scored the only goal of the game in the 85th minute, as the Chicago Red Stars defeated the Royals, 1-0, at Zions Bank Stadium Sunday night.
“It stings right now, I’m not going to lie, it hurts, but we always knew we were going to be going to knockout football,” said head coach Craig Harrington. “We’re on to knockout football and we want to stay together as a group and if we want to keep enjoying this tournament and enjoying this experience we need to make sure that we turn these tight losses into wins, simple as that. Black and white, I feel like we did enough to win the game, but again, concentration levels marking in the box just let us down tonight. Overall proud of the performance, but it’s not the result we want and we need to do better.”
The Royals out-shot the Red Stars 9-7, but were only able to put three shots on frame.
U.S. national team goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher got three saves in the win for the Red Stars, while Abby Smith made three saves for Utah.
“I know I had one or two that I should of had,” said Royals forward Arielle Ship. “But I think a lot of goals are coming for us, I think it’s coming and we are just going to take these four games and try and learn from it the best we can, make sure we get this win.”
Defender Kelley O’Hara made her first appearance of the season when she came on as a substitute in the 71st minute. The U.S. National Team player has been hampered by an ankle injury since last year.
The Royals conclude the preliminary round with a record of 1-2-1. Utah will begin the knockout round either Friday or Saturday, and learn their seeding after Monday night’s games are concluded.