SANDY — Utah Royals FC teammates Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Press and Kelley O’Hara just wrapped up Olympic qualifying with the United States women’s national team with a first-place finish at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers in Houston.
The trio should be back at Rio Tinto Stadium before the start of the NWSL season, too.
The United States will play a pre-Olympic friendly at the home of Real Salt Lake and the Royals in April, sources with direct knowledge of the match told KSL.com late Tuesday night.
The squad will host seventh-ranked Australia on Friday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. MDT, RSL confirmed Wednesday morning. The match will be broadcast on ESPN2 and will mark the first friendly on the Wasatch Front by the U.S. women since June 7, 2018, when the squad topped China 1-0 on Alex Morgan’s goal during the inaugural season of Utah’s professional women’s soccer club.
“We love playing here,” then-U.S. coach Jill Ellis said after the match. “The crowd is always very good, and they are knowledgeable about the game.”
The match will mark the first for new USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski in Utah since taking the top post of the program in October 2019.
Andonovski’s last visit to Sandy came as head coach of Reign FC, a 2-0 win by the visiting team over Utah Royals FC on June 28, 2019.
This time, he'll be on heading up the home team.
The “hometown” match comes as Press, a former MAC Hermann Trophy winner at Stanford, is putting herself in strong contention for Andonovski’s first-choice XI ahead of the Summer Games in Tokyo. The Royals striker with 56 goals in 135 international appearances was recently named the Golden Ball winner, given to the best player of the Olympic qualifying tournament in Houston.
“She’s doing very well, like you said, she’s on fire. But I’ve always thought she’s a great player; it’s not like she’s just coming on fire now,” Andonovski told the Associated Press. “She’s doing well and penetrating on the dribble and the goals that she’s scored; I’ve seen Press score those goals in the league.
“I’m just glad she’s doing it for the national team, as well.”
Tickets go on sale Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. on ussoccer.com, or by calling 844-REAL-TIX.