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Pro roundup: Utah Royals, Salt Lake Bees end up with losses

By Staff | Jun 9, 2024

Courtesy photo

Utah and Washington players battle for the ball during the game at America First Field in Sandy on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

Utah Royals FC fell 1-0 to Washington Spirit in a game at America First Field in Sandy on Saturday evening.

Utah Royals FC returned to its usual 4-3-3 formation after playing in a 3-5-2 last time out against Kansas City Current. Different personnel made up the 11 with Ally Sentnor getting her first start as striker and Lauren Flynn transitioning from center back to left back. The hosts transitioned to a three women frontline in hopes of generating more attacking opportunities.

Building out of the back continued to give Utah Royals trouble as the first chance of the game went to Washington Spirit after a giveaway from Dana Foederer resulted in Trinity Rodman running at Utah’s defense crossing a ball right into Mandy Haught’s hands in the third minute.

The home team had a few chances of its own, with the first coming in the sixth minute of play when Flynn won a 50/50 ball at midfield and released Royal’s captain Paige Monaghan on the left side of the field. Monaghan dribbled into the box but was not able to connect with a teammate for the finishing touch.

Heads up play by veteran Henry in the 15th minute to throw the ball in quickly to Brecken Mozingo, who slotted a pass to Frankie Tagliaferri who found Sentnor at the top of the box. Sentnor received the bouncing ball but saw her effort go over the crossbar.

The first goal of the match belonged to Kate Wiesner in the 26th minute after a misclear off of a Washington Spirit corner kick led to her receiving the ball with back to goal, she was able to turn and get her shot off which went straight into the bottom right corner of Haught’s goal.

Utah Royals FC’s best chance of the first half came in the 34th minute when Foederer found Monaghan on a through ball, after taking Gabby Carle 1v1, her shot rebounded off the outside of the post.

With no changes to start the second half, Flynn immediately was called into action again in the 48th minute, when she made her second goal line clearance in back-to-back games on a Rodman shot from the top of the box. Sentnor was able to create the next chance for Utah, dribbling by a number of players before seeing her shot blocked. Henry recycled the ball and found Sentnor whose half volley went wide in the 53rd minute.

A double sub came in the 57th minute with Fraser and Hannah Betfort coming on for Tagliaferri and Foederer. Fraser immediately got involved in the attack in the 61st minute when she received the ball in midfield and slotted a pass to Sentnor who found Monaghan open on the right side who had her shot blocked.

Haught came up with another huge save to keep Utah in the game in the 67th minute saving a point-blank effort from former Utah Royal Brittany Ratcliffe. Utah’s next substitution came in the 77th minute as Michele Vasconcelos replaced Mozingo on the right wing.

Haught was the hero once again in the 78th minute soaring across her goal to palm away a chip attempt from Ratcliffe. Utah turned to the bench once last time in the 88th minute when Madison Pogarch and Cam Tucker came on to replace Zoe Burns and Monaghan.

The Royals (1-10-1, 4pts, 14th in NWSL) were not able to produce anything in the attacking third ending in a goal, coming up short in a 1-0 loss at home to Washington (9-3-0, 27pts, 2nd in NWSL).

Bees suffer first home sweep in three years

The Salt Lake Bees were downed by the Sugar Land Space Cowboys for the sixth consecutive game by a score of 8-4 on Sunday at Smith’s Ballpark, marking the first time the Bees were swept at home since June 1, 2021, against Round Rock.

The Bees were off to an encouraging start as Jordyn Adams smashed a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the first inning to give the home club an early edge.

Sugar Land used a two-out rally in the third inning to take its first lead of the game as three straight Space Cowboys reached via a single and two hit batters to load the bases before Shay Whitcomb lined a single to center field, scoring two runs.

Kyren Paris put on the black and yellow for the first time in his career on Sunday and quickly made his mark, lifting a solo home run to left field and tying the game at 2-2 in ensuing frame.

Quincy Hamilton responded with a big fly of his own in the top of the fourth inning, giving Sugar Land a 3-2 lead with his ninth homer of the season.

Continuing the back-and-forth affair, the Bees leveled the game once again in the home half of the fourth as Elliot Soto recorded a leadoff single and later advanced to second after a pickoff error. Jack Lopez followed with a fly out to right field, advancing Soto to third and setting up a Chad Wallach RBI single through the infield, scoring Soto.

Both teams scored in the fifth inning as Sugar Land grabbed the lead back with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Shay Whitcomb while the Bees used a one-out bases-loaded walk drawn by Niko Goodrum to knot things up at 4-4.

The Space Cowboys used a pair of two-run innings to grab the series finale as Cooper Hummel doubled home a run and a throwing error by Paris allowed a run to score in the seventh inning. Whitcomb put the game away with a two-run home run in the ninth inning, his 13th of the season.

The Bees used four pitchers while the Space Cowboys totaled five arms with Travis MacGregor (L,0-4) taking the loss in relief and Conner Greene (W, 5-1) earning the win with a clean sixth inning appearance.

Salt Lake will head back to Sin City to face the Las Vegas Aviators for the second time this season on Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. MT. The Bees finished with a 3-3 split at Las Vegas Stadium in early April.


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