Utah Royals excited for first home opener


SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The excitement has been building for months, and now it’s almost here.

The Utah Royals women’s soccer team will play their first ever home game Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium against the Chicago Red Stars, and the team is hoping for a sellout.

“When you can get hopefully a full house, I think that brings its own energy,” said head coach Laura Harvey. “We have to put on something that they want to watch. I think that’s what our responsibility is. From them, all we ask is they get behind us and be our 12th man.”

“When we are at the carnival a few weeks ago for their home opener, there were so many fans coming up saying they had season tickets and were so excited to have women’s soccer here,” said forward Katie Stengel. “So I think just walking around the city during the day, you see fans and they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re the Utah Royals, the new team.'”

“I’ve been to two RSL games, so that’s been really cool to see,” added midfielder Kelley O’Hara. “I’m hoping most of those fans translate over to our game and to our team.”

While the Royals (0-0-2) have allowed just one goal in two games on a controversial penalty kick, the offense has produced just one goal, resulting in two draws to start the season. But the team is confident the offense will come.

“I think a lot about offense is learning each other and just knowing each other’s tendencies,” said O’Hara. “That comes from playing together, that’s chemistry.”

“We’ve played two games and haven’t conceded a goal in open play, so you’ve got to be happy with that,” Harvey said. “Now we’ve just got to be better with the ball moving forward.”

Saturday’s game between the Royals and Chicago will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.

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