OL Reign 5
Chicago Red Stars 2
April 22, 2023
Lumen Field – Seattle, WA
NWSL Regular Season
OL Reign and Chicago Red Stars met Saturday afternoon in Seattle at Lumen Field.
The Reign were playing their third match in eight days with a midweek away Challenge Cup match in Los Angeles midweek. With squad rotation at the forefront, a successful two nil victory over Angel City with the stoppage time victory over San Diego last weekend, the Reign were riding a defensive goalless week into the match.
Chicago came into the match having found the net four times against Kansas City Current; a good result as they sort out the season ending loss of Mallory Swanson to a knee injury. For the Red Stars, nabbing four goals and three points in that first match after the loss of Swanson potentially bodes well for the resiliency of the side in 2023.
Photos by Lee Pate
The early going in the first half saw both sides poking and prodding for openings, but neither pressing up with numbers or pushing the envelope.
About a dozen minutes in the hosts kicked up the pressure, Tziarra King, Jordyn Huitema, and Veronica Latsko all began to get and create chances. In the fifteenth minute the pressure would pay off with Bethany Balcer slotting a right footed shot low after a series of touches in the box and the Reign had an early one nil lead.
Balcer would get her head on another cross a few minutes later to nab her second goa and it was a sudden two goal advantage.
The Red Stars were forced to make an early concussion sub when Cheyna Matthews came off in the 30th minute for Allison Schlegel. Moments later, the Red Stars would halve the Seattle lead when Arin Wright converted from the top of the penalty area. VAR review would confirm the goal.
The Reign would continue to press as the half wound down, while Chicago was finding more and more opportunities pushing forward with rookie Penelope Hocking and others stretching the defense.
Jessica Fishlock would score a stoppage time goal to extend the Reign lead back to two goals and the match would go into the interval 3-1 to the home side.
Megan Rapinoe entered the match at the half, having picked up yellow card on the bench in the first half.
Chicago wasted no time grabbing back a goal in the first minute out of the break. Schlegel would get a quick turn in the box on her right foot and stunned the Reign defense right out of the gate to cut the lead to 3-2.
Where the early going of the first half had appeared to be both teams playing fairly cautious, but the early stages of the second half this was a wide open match.
The 73rd minute would find the Reign with a set piece outside the box on the upper corner. Rapinoe’s shot was deflected by a Chicago defender past Alyssa Naeher bringing the lead back to two at 4-2.
The hosts would strike again moments later as Jessica Fishlock found the net to make it 5-2 with fifteen minutes to play.
The early goals in this match really opened up the play. Chicago getting a goal back during the first half and right out of the gate in the second contributed to keeping the match wide open.
The Reign successfully navigated the three match week, grabbing full points from all matches.
The Red Stars can score, showing they have scoring options despite the loss of Swanson to injury. However, they find themselves with only three points looking up after four matches.
RGN: Balcer – 15’, 20’, Fishlock – 45+5’, 76’, Rapinoe – 73’
CHI: Wright – 32’, Schlegel – 46’
RGN: Rapinoe (Caution – 21’)
CHI: Bike (Caution – 85’), Milazzo (Caution – 90+2’)
RGN: GK Tullis-Joyce, D Huerta (Canales 89’), D Cook, D Hiatt, D Barnes ©, M Sonnett, M Fishlock, F Balcer (Bennett 78’), F Latsko (Stanton 67’), F Huitema (Brown 89’), F King (Rapinoe 46’)
Unused substitutes: GK Dickey, M Athens, D Malonson, D Holmes
Total Shots: 15 (Fishlock – 4)
Shots on Goal: 5 (Balcer, Fishlock – 2)
Fouls: 10 (Four tied with– 2)
Corner Kicks: 2
Saves: 3 (Tullis-Joyce – 3)
CHI: GK Naeher, D Kreuger, D Davison, D Milazzo, M Rocarro, M Nagasato (Bianchi 82’), M St. Georges (Bike 82’), M Wright (Aguilera 83’), F Stevens (Cook 60’), F Hocking, F Matthews (Schlegel 30’)
Unused substitutes: GK Boyd, F Griffith, M Feller, M Fisher
Total Shots: 10 (Hocking, Wright – 2)
Shots on Goal: 5 (Five tied with – 1)
Fouls: 8 (Hocking – 2)
Corner Kicks: 4
Referee: JC Griggs
Assistant Referee 1: Melissa Beck
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Clerc
4th Official: Adorae Monroy
Var: Daniel Radford
Avar: Emma Richards