Crushing defeat reveals shocking truth about Utah Royals vs Portland Thorns

Utah Royals seek redemption after disastrous defeat while Portland Thorns try to recover from recent disappointment
Portland Thorns FC v Utah Royals FC
Portland Thorns FC v Utah Royals FC / Rob Gray/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Ah, Utah Royals FC! That team that makes you believe in the impossible, even when the numbers say otherwise. Last Friday's match against Orlando Pride was a real massacre, but, as they say, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". And the Royals will need a lot of strength to face the Portland Thorns this weekend.

The scenario isn't the best. With just two wins in 14 matches, the Royals are bottom of the NWSL. Coach Amy Rodriguez has been scrambling to find a magic formula, but so far she's only seen glimmers of hope. Goalkeeper Mandy Haught was one of those glimmers, with an acrobatic performance that earned her her seventh Defender of the Week nomination, the best in the league. But let's face it, one swallow doesn't make a summer, and the rest of the team needs to step up their game urgently.

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Meanwhile, the Portland Thorns, with their tradition as giants of the league, come into this clash on the back of a bitter defeat to Kansas City Current. Interim coach Rob Gale is trying to put his house in order after the departure of Mike Norris. And if there's anyone who can unbalance any game, it's Sophia Smith. The USWNT striker is flying, tied for the lead for the Golden Boot with ten goals. It's going to be quite a job for the Royals' defense, especially Lauren Flynn and Kate Del Fava, who have been the team's walls.

The Thorns aren't just about attack. They have a solid midfield and a defense that, despite the latest setback, knows how to handle itself. The record between these two teams favors Portland, with three wins and four draws in eight meetings. But since soccer is unpredictable, who knows what could happen? One individual play, one defensive error, and the game could change completely.

The Royals need to take advantage of the home advantage. Playing at America First Field could be that extra boost the team needs. What's more, the Olympic break is coming up, and there's nothing better than going into it with a morale-boosting win. Ally Sentnor, with her five goals, needs to be inspired. If she can get her game going and Haught can keep the wall up at the back, the Royals could spring a surprise.

On the other hand, Thorns won't make it easy. They have a tradition to uphold and know that dropping points against the bottom side could be fatal in the fight for the playoffs. Smith's confidence, combined with the need to recover, makes them a very dangerous opponent. This Saturday's game is a real treat for those who like thrills and surprises. The Royals are on the ropes and need a heroic performance to turn the tide. Thorns, on the other hand, are trying to find their feet again and are out to prove that their last defeat was just a setback.