Late goal in North Carolina makes it 4 straight losses for Utah Royals

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CARY, N.C. — For 75 minutes on Friday in North Carolina it looked like the Utah Royals' losing streak would end at three games as both teams were held scoreless.

But then Ashley Sanchez launched a perfect cross into the box and the ball fell to Kaleigh Kurtz for a heartbreaking game-winner in the 76th minute to send the Royals back to Utah with three losses on their three-game road trip.

"It was a tough one for us to walk away with a loss," defender Kate Del Fava said. "I think we fought really hard, we defended really well and it just came down to one moment for us."

The loss marks the eighth of the season for Utah as the Royals return to Sandy looking to get either their second win or second draw of the season on May 25 against the league-leading Kansas City Current.

The North Carolina Courage hammered away at the Royals all night long with 20 total shots and 10 on target, forcing an impressive five saves from goalkeeper Mandy Haught, who would've been the player of the match had the score stayed at 0-0.

Instead, the Courage got revenge for a March 22 loss in Sandy with a 1-0 win to move them to 5-5 on the season — including a perfect 5-0- at home — and into the top half of the NWSL standings.

"It's been a long road stint," Del Fava said of the Royals' recent stretch. "So (we're looking forward to) getting home, recovering and then starting the week fresh looking at the positives and ready to go into the weekend and hopefully get a result."

The Royals fall to 1-8-1 (W-L-T) on the season as the last-place team in the league with their next match at America First Field on Saturday, May 25 at 8 p.m. MDT.

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Caleb Turner covers Real Salt Lake as the team's beat writer for, in addition to his role where he oversees the sports team's social media accounts.


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