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Reign and Utah Royals trade goals for 1-1 draw

Seattle and Utah trade goals in first meeting of 2024.

Last Updated
4 min read
Veronica Latsko celebrates with Ji and Jordyn Huitema after scoring a goal against Utah Royals FC.
Mike Russell / Sounder at Heart

Under a sweltering heatwave, Seattle Reign FC hosted the Utah Royals FC, a meeting of the two teams at the bottom end of the standings. This was the first match for interim head coach Jimmy Coenraets after Utah fired Amy Rodriguez last week.

Seattle thought they had the opening goal in the 50th minute when Jess Fishlock found the back of the net from a second chance opportunity. However VAR took away the goal, citing a foul by Bethany Balcer. Utah then claimed the first goal with Ally Sentnor scoring in the 67th minute. The Reign got their equalizer in the 75th minute from Veronica Latsko.

In stoppage time, Emeri Adames had a great shot that could have been a monumental match-winner for the Reign, but it was just a bit wide and Seattle and Utah played to a 1-1 draw.


There were spells in the first half in which someone from the midfield trio of Jess Fishlock, Quinn, and Ji would move down closer to the centerback pairing of Alana Cook and Phoebe McClernon to split them, enabling wingbacks Ryanne Brown and Sofia Huerta to move up. The change from Seattle's usual 4-3-3 setup into a 3-4-3 was intended to get Brown and Huerta move involved in the attack. Seeing Seattle do this as early and as often as they did felt like something new in a season where obviously they've had to try something, anything that results in goals and points on the table.


Chasing the game and needing a goal to equalize, Seattle finally found their breakthrough in the 75th minute courtesy of Veronica Latsko, who entered the match 11 minutes prior. The ball fell to Latsko's feet after Jordyn Huitema blocked Utah's clearance attempt.


Seattle thought they had the first goal of the match in the 50th minute by Jess Fishlock, but VAR took it away. Utah started pressing higher and found their goal in the 67th minute as Ally Sentnor pickpocketed Alana Cook in the Reign half.

"We like the pain."

It's been the buzz word for weeks, but Reign head coach Laura Harvey after the match expanded on exactly what she's meant when the team has lacked quality and thus the team is second to last in the NWSL standings.

"Honestly, when I say quality, I don't just mean finishing. Everything – passing control, first touch, vision, quality, like quality in the game of understanding. Do I pull wide? Do I run straight? Do I run in behind? Do I come short? The whole quality statement is everything. Yes, everyone's gonna look at finishing, but it's all of the things. Making the right run at the right time. Keeping width when you need need to keep width. Getting in front of goal and taking the chance, but also controlling the ball so you can pass your teammate, just simple things. We've got to really get back to the basics, because that will be the difference for us. When we do those things, even the build up to the goal, like before Jordyn [Huitema] blocks it, the passing sequence prior to that is great. Like, that's what gets us there."

Harvey continued, "We've just got to be a little bit better in environments, and that's all over the pitch. They've got a goal [that] comes from us, let's be honest, like us giving the ball away when we've got no one behind. And that's got to be better from all of us, and we've been punished for that. If that happens to us, and we get those chances, we don't tend to get those quality [finishes]. So quality is a statement for me that is a term that looks at our team in a nutshell. And yes, is finishing part of that. Absolutely. Even on Claudia's save, I think initially, it was a poor kick. So, she has to then scramble to make it better, and I think that's a piece for me. We're sadistic to ourselves, we like the pain. That's our look at it and go, we enjoy the pain of giving the ball away so we can be the hero. We don't need to do that. We're better than that."

The draw keeps Seattle and Utah where they're at in the standings. Seattle, in 13th place with 11 points, Utah in 14th place with 9 points. A CBA-mandated break is next for Seattle and the rest of the NWSL.

The Reign and Utah Royals will meet up once again in 12 days time at Lumen Field for their first match in the group stage of the brand new NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup competition, where Portland Thorns FC and Club Tijuana are also in the Reign's group. Seattle Reign FC vs. Utah Royals for match day 1 of the NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup takes place on Friday, July 19 at Lumen Field with a 6 PM PT kickoff.