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Match Preview: Seattle Reign vs. Utah Royals

The Reign are looking for three points in front of home fans.

Last Updated
5 min read
Rookie Ally Sentnor for the Utah Royals / © Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Reign is back at home on Sunday, July 7, hosting the Utah Royals at Lumen Field. The match kicks off at 3 PM PT and will air on KONG TV and stream on KING 5+ and NWSL+.

Weather is predicted to be near 90 degrees at kickoff, which will feel even warmer on the turf. Head coach Laura Harvey praised the medical and training staff for preparing the team last week for hot and humid conditions in Gotham and said they feel prepared again for the summer heat.

Forward Tziarra King is happy to have the chance to put on a great performance in front of home fans who make the trip to Lumen Field.

"We wanna go out, put out a good performance and get some points. Obviously, we're back at home this week. We love our fans. And we need three points."

Utah is a fairly unpredictable team to scout at the moment, as they fired head coach Amy Rodriguez last week. She was replaced by Jimmy Coenraets, who joined the Royals as an assistant coach in late June. Coenraets previously managed OH Leuven in Belgium, bringing them from last place to a title contender. He'll have a big task in the NWSL – and only time will tell if he's up for it.

Recent Results

In a reverse of fortune from the week prior, the Reign scored late on the road to draw 1-1 with Gotham last week. Utah hosted the Portland Thorns and had the better chances, but played to a scoreless draw.


This is the first matchup between the two teams in 2024.

  • While Utah is considered an expansion club, the Royals have some history in the NWSL. If we count that history, the Reign are 6-1-2 against Utah.

Quick Stats

  • Utah (2-11-2, 8 points) sits in 14th place and has scored 7 goals and conceded 27.
  • Seattle Reign (2-9-4, 10 points) sits in 13th and has scored 15 goals and conceded 27.
  • The Reign are 2-2-3 at home (7 goals for, 7 goals against). Utah is 1-6-0 on the road (4 goals for, 19 goals against).
  • Rookie fullback Zoe Burns has started eight matches for Utah. She grew up in Issaquah and played for Crossfire Premier.

What to Watch

Ally Sentnor is a talent

While she's only scored twice and assisted three goals, rookie Ally Sentnor – the first pick in this year's draft – is a menace. Just 20 years old, she's played a role in all but two of Utah's seven goals this season. According to FBref, Sentnor is fourth in the league with 30 key passes and fourth in shot-creating actions (59). She can create and score goals. She takes most of Utah's set pieces as well.

Sentnor is also dangerous on the dribble, using her speed to create shots. She has the fourth-most shots in the league from carrying the ball up the field, behind only Sophia Smith, Temwa Chawinga, and Trinity Rodman.

Because of her abilities on the ball, Sentnor gets a lot of attention from defenses. In this play last week against the Thorns, she draws three defenders toward her – leaving Ifeoma Onumonu open in the box for a shot.

Utah's formation

The Royals have tried several different formations to perfect their offensive and defensive shape. At the start of the year, regardless of formation, Utah focused on possessing the ball. Unfortunately for the Royals, most of that possession came in their defensive third – and they struggled to bring the ball up the field. The Royals have forced the fewest high turnovers in the league and have the second-most touches in their defensive penalty box and defensive third.

They've been slowly shifting this approach to become more dangerous in transition. As Harvey noted in a pre-match press conference, while they haven't scored a ton of goals, they've become much more dangerous in transition in recent weeks.

Last week, the Royals lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which worked well for them against Portland. The formation moved Sentnor from the left wing to a center-attacking midfield spot, where she could get much more involved in the attack. She had a season-high six key passes and 10 shot-creating actions. The Royals had 24 shots against Portland, but despite producing 1.8 expected goals, they couldn't find the back of the net.

Their line of confrontation defensively was higher as well, which could indicate a shift that the team is trying to make.

With the coaching change, it's difficult to predict how the team might line up this Sunday. They'd be smart to try Sentnor in this role again to see what she can produce with her speed and vision. She certainly helps the team be a lot more dangerous in transition.

The partnership on the right

Forward Tziarra King has gotten a start at right wing in the last two games, and Harvey likes the partnership that she's developed with right back Sofia Huerta. While it's possible we'll see another player line up there, King has been showing more and more on the offensive end in recent matches.

"I think the combination with her and Sofia is a good one " said Harvey. "We know she can come on that left side and enjoys hitting shots with her right foot. But I think her movements higher up the field and threatening the line [have been good]. She's always been a really good defensive forward for us. She really understands that side of the game, but I think she's just added this sort of threat to her game. A little bit of attacking threat is obviously great for us."

As an example of this connection, Huerta had six shot-creating actions against Louisville and three against Gotham. Can the Reign get the most out of that right side on Sunday – getting King involved while also allowing Huerta to get up the wing and combine with teammates or get a shot or cross off herself?

It would be lovely if Huerta finally got that assist that put her solely at the top of the league's all-time assist leader list. She's currently tied with Jess McDonald at 28 assists.

Injury / Availability Report

Seattle Reign

OUT: Lauren Barnes (leg)

Utah Royals

OUT: Imani Dorsey (SEI - achilles), Carly Nelson (excused absence), Olivia Griffitts (hamstring), Mikayla Cluff (foot), Michele Vasconcelos (hip), Macey Fraser (ankle), Frankie Tagliaferri (excused absence)

How to Watch

Seattle Reign hosts the Utah Royals at 3 PM PT on Sunday, July 7. The match will air on KONG TV locally and stream on KING 5+ and NWSL+.