Expansion Utah wins first NWSL match 2-1 over North Carolina. Angel City and Orlando play to 1-1 tie

Sat, Mar 23, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Expansion Utah wins first NWSL match 2-1 over North Carolina. Angel City and Orlando play to 1-1 tie

Kate Del Fava and Ally Sentnor both scored in the first half to give the expansion Utah Royals their first win of the season, a 2-1 victory over the North Carolina Courage on Friday night in the National Women's Soccer League.

The two goals came from Utah's only two shots Friday night at America First Stadium in Salt Lake.

In the 15th minute, Del Fava headed in Paige Monaghan's corner kick at the far post, giving the Royals their first goal of the season.

Ashley Sanchez leveled for the Courage in the 26th, getting her right leg on a bouncing ball in the box after Utah was unable to clear Haley Hopkins' cross.

Just four minutes later, Ally Sentnor, the first pick in this year's NWSL draft, carried the ball all the way up the field from half and whipped in a hard shot from the left corner of the 18-yard box that found the upper right corner.

"Phenomenal finish from her. I see that weekly in training. I'm so excited for her. Her first goal in the NWSL, so deserved," head coach Amy Rodriguez said of Sentnor's goal.

Malia Berkely had a chance to tie for the Courage in the 58th, but her penalty kick hit the left post. As Utah tried to clear the ball on the same play, the Royals again fouled North Carolina in the box and gave Berkely another penalty kick. This one was saved by Mandy Haught.

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North Carolina (1-1-0) finished with 17 shots, but just three on target.

The win marked Utah's (1-1-0) first victory in the club's second stint in the NWSL. The team was founded in 2017 when FC Kansas City ceased operations and moved to Utah. That Royals team folded in 2020, and the league granted them an expansion team last year.


Claire Emslie and Marta traded goals in the second half as Angel City and the Orlando Pride played to a 1-1 draw at Inter&Co Stadium in Orlando.

Marta thought she had the opening goal for the Pride in the 23rd minute, but it was called back due to a foul on the play.

After coming out of the halftime break scoreless, Meggie Dougherty Howard was taken down in the box in the 53rd minute. Emslie stepped up to take the penalty, powering it into the lower left corner to give Angel City (0-1-1) the lead.

In the 88th minute, Marta was left unmarked at the far post and volleyed in Angelina's corner kick, helping Orlando (0-0-2) come from behind and salvage a point for the second straight week.


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