Welcome to 2021! Hopefully we’re on the flip-side of COVID-19 now.
The OL Reign Lìon lacks an official name, so, after consulting with a number of supporters, we’ve elected to call the Lion Pringle, after the shape its tongue calls to mind for North Americans. With a nod to the parent club, we’re opting to pronounce the name pring-ELLE. After all, elle is the French third person feminine pronoun, and since it’s silly for a women’s team to have a male lion on its crest, this seems to fit.
«Que pense Pringle ?» will be a series of quick takes and general thoughts about the Reign, their competition, the NWSL, or women’s soccer in general. So, without further ado….
It’s not clear if any of the players called up for International duty have returned to the area, and less so whether any will be available for selection in Friday night’s match against the Houston Dash. I’d be surprised if Pinoe, Quinn, and Jess Fishlock were available, more so if all three were, and stunned if any were to go more than 45′.
Regardless of whether England netminder Karen Bardsley – also returning from International duty – starts between the sticks, the Reign will feature a debutante goalkeeper. My money would be on Cosette Morché, but wouldn’t be surprised if Ella Dederick drew the nod, simply given travel for Bardsley.
The potential of the squad to roll out a front three with Sofia Huerta flanked by Megan Rapinoe and Jasmine Spencer, with Bethany Balcer, Tziarra King, Nicole Momiki, and Ally Watt in ready reserve. That the 2019 Rookie of the Year isn’t an automatic for inclusion in the starting XI speaks to the weapons available in attack.
At full strength, the midfield could feature Jess Fishlock, Quinn, and Allie Long – a trio which could out work any opposition. Whether they’ll be effective in linking play remains to be seen, but Long’s passing accuracy should be near the top of the league again; Quinn may be the replacement for Keelin Winters-Petrillo the midfield has been lacking since the latter’s retirement following the back-to-back Shield winners; and the Welsh Tiny Dragon will continue to do Jess Fishlock things.
Centre back will be a potential concern – after Lu Barnes and Amber Brooks, who slots in there? There aren’t similar concerns on the outside.
But, of course, roster strength doesn’t distaste results – thet’s why they play the games. Still, there’s good reason for optimism here at chez Pringle.