Utah Royals FC Reserves coach Amy LePeilbet, second to left, has led her club to the Mountain Conference title in its first WPSL season. [Utah Royals FC]
SALT LAKE CITY — As WPSL playoff races intensify across the league, one expansion club has already punched the first ticket to the 2019 postseason.
Utah Royals FC Reserves clinched the Mountain Conference championship with a 2-0 victory at Colorado Rapids Women on Sunday. Royals midfielders Amber Marshall and Ashley Cardozo scored both goals in the first half.
With the victory, the Royals concluded a four-day Colorado road trip by not conceding a goal in its three matches.
Royals coach Amy LePeilbet and her club have two more regular season matches remaining, including this Saturday at Utah Arrows SC, before preparation begins for the Central Region playoff in Minneapolis on July 13.
"We are so proud of Amy and her players to have earned this accomplishment," Royals General Manager Stephanie Lee said. "They continue to represent the Utah Royals FC organization with determination and hard work."
With the remaining 15 WPSL conference titles still remaining, the following matches this weekend are ones that have significant playoff implications:
FRIDAY, JUNE 21: San Ramon FC at San Francisco Nighthawks, 7:30 p.m. PDT
What is at stake: The top four clubs in the PacNorth Conference will meet in an intra-conference in San Francisco on the weekend of July 6. The Nighthawks would clinch a top four spot with a victory. San Ramon FC, currently in fourth place with eight points, needs a result to remain ahead of Pleasanton RAGE for the final playoff position.
SATURDAY, JUNE 22: Phoenix Del Sol at Albuquerque FC, 5:45 MDT
What is at stake: A heated three-club race for two PacSouth Conference playoff positions has emerged between these two clubs and FC Tucson. Phoenix Del Sol has been on a roll as of late, unbeaten in its past four matches. It's only blemish in 2019 - an ugly 4-0 home loss in its season opener to Albuquerque FC on May 31. Both clubs are tied atop the Desert Division with 10 points.
SUNDAY, JUNE 23: Salvo SC at Mankato United Soccer Club, 7 p.m. CDT
What is at stake: Sunday's match is potentially Mankato's last chance to make a run at conference-leading Salvo SC. The two expansion sides have yet to lose a match this season, but Mankato trails Salvo by eight points. Mankato does have an advantage to make up ground with three matches in-hand at the time of Sunday's kickoff. Two Salvo wins this weekend - it plays Friday at Rochester United FC - would all but eliminate Mankato from playoff contention.