Utah Royals find late winner at Bay FC for 2nd win of season


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SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Utah Royals got their first road win of the season Sunday in the first meeting against fellow first-year club Bay FC to draw first blood between the two "expansion twins."

Bay FC dominated most of the first half, but head coach Amy Rodriguez stirred up some magic among the Royals in the second half as Utah drew level with Bay in shots on target in the 78th minute and then took the lead on a header from Kate Del Fava in the 89th.

"We just kept building momentum as the (second) half went along," Del Fava said. "I think we were able to establish possession a little bit higher up the field which allowed us to build momentum, get some set pieces and attack their goal a little bit more. That kind of all led up to the moment that we were able to get the goal."

It was Del Fava's second goal of the year and gave rookie Ally Sentnor her third assist of the season with a pinpoint cross off a free kick that Sentnor herself earned with a push to the back.

A goal just four minutes earlier by Bay was disallowed due to an offside flag, allowing the Royals to push for the game-winner in the final minutes. The win ended a six-match losing streak for the Royals dating back to May 3.

Utah finished the match with a 7-4 lead in shots on target and goalkeeper Mandy Haught came up with three crucial saves to hold Bay scoreless for just the third time this season.

"Really happy with the whole group to get the shutout and 3 points," Del Fava said. "The standard definitely goes up, but I think it's just 'next game up' mentality, not looking too far into the future and just focusing all on the weekend and getting the next 3 points."

The Royals nearly doubled their points in the standings with the win from 4 to 7, though still a point behind Seattle to get out of last place.

The team travels to Orlando on Friday before returning home on June 29 against Portland.

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

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