Reign drop points at home against Orlando on Sunday afternoon

Seattle Reign FC 2
Orlando Pride 3
May 19, 2024
Lumen Field – Seattle, WA
NWSL Regular Season

Unbeaten Orlando Pride made the long trek cross country to Seattle to face the host Reign FC on a Sunday afternoon. Seattle finds itself in the unusual position of looking up from the bottom of the table. Meanwhile, the Pride has leveraged a stingy defense into a spot up near the top.

Three points would do wonders for the Seattle place in the standings, potentially moving them up several spots in the congested table. Those same three points could start to give the Pride some separation as the table begins to stretch out into the midseason.

Seattle would need to shake off a difficult loss to Cascadia rivals last weekend away at Portland.

The early stages were a little less end to end than recent matches. But, in just the ninth minute Orlando would open the scoring with a long range shot from Emily Sams left foot past the lunging Laurel Ivory.

With the early goal, Orlando was able to pick their spots. As the Reign began to press forward looking for the equalizer, the Pride would grab a second goal in the 18th minute when Barbra Banda would get a header from close range.

Seattle would try and rally. In a season that has been a struggle, going down two early at home is not what Reign players or fans are used to. For a club traveling cross country, the Pride found itself in ideal circumstances as the middle of the first half approached. Tziarra King would nearly grab one back in that middle phase of the half, but her long range crack was handled. Kylie Strom looked to have made it three nil in the 32nd minute on a header from a set piece that took an interesting bounce, but VAR would rule it offside and giving the home side a lifeline.

The VAR lifeline brought some life back to the hosts, as they pressured the Pride defense and created a number of chances as the half wound down. But, this is the Reign 2024 so far in a nutshell; some good sequences and pace, chances in front of the opposing goal, and then they find themselves somehow behind and playing catch up.

The break Seattle needed would come late in first half stoppage time. Ji So-Yun would lay off a ball to Angharad James-Turner and James-Turner would bring the match back to a one goal margin. A bit of a deflection would help, but it was the sort of break the Reign have not been getting.

The breaks would continue for Seattle, as Bethany Balcer would level the match shortly after the restart in the 48th minute. From two goals down just before the break to level just after brought the Seattle crowd to life.

The Pride continued to do what had worked so well in the early stages of the match and for the season so far and showed no panic. Orlando has proven to be a stingy defense, but their counter down the wing continued to create dangerous situations. The Pride moved the ball about well, holding possession for stretches and looking for their spots.

The match would not remain level for long. The visitors were dangerous on set pieces and grabbed the lead back in the 59th minute as Banda would grab her 2nd of the match off a corner.

Orlando would see out the match and grab the three points, maintaining their unbeaten 2024 season through ten matches. With 24 points they sit two points clear at the top.

It was another heartbreaker for the Reign. At the very least it appeared they had grabbed a gritty point when they leveled, but it was not to be.

Late in the match more cards would emerge as the physical play intensified and some frustrations came to a head. Cook would see yellow in the 76th and Balcer would be sent off in the 84th with a second yellow for dissent after a first half yellow in stoppage time.


Weather: 63, partly sunny

Scoring Summary

SEA: James-Turner – 45+5′, Balcer – 48′
ORL: Sams – 9′, Banda – 18′, 58’


SEA: Balcer (Caution – 45+1’, Second yellow – 83′), Cook (Caution – 76′)
ORL: Doyle (Caution – 90+4’), Allen (Caution – 90+8’)


SEA: GK Ivory, D Huerta, D Barnes (c) (Holmes 46’), D Cook, D McClernon, M Fishlock, M Van der Jagt (Latsko 67’), M Ji (Weinert 87’), M James-Turner (Athens 83’) F Balcer, F King (Adames 83’)
Unused substitutes: GK Perez, D Brown, D Woodham, M Stanton

Total Shots: 15 (Three tied with – 13
Shots on Goal: 6 (Balcer, James-Turner – 2)
Fouls: 14 (Three tied with– 3)
Offsides: 2
Corner Kicks: 2
Saves: 1 (Ivory – 1)

ORL: GK Moorhouse, D McCutheon, D Sams, D Souza, D Strom, M Abello, M Lemos (Watt 78’), M Yates (Doyle 46’), F Adriana (Dyke 63’), F Banda (Allen 90+2’), F Marta (c) (Martinez 78’)
Unused substitutes: GK Crone, M Duljan, F Kerr, D Lawrence

Total Shots: 8 (Banda, Marta 3)
Shots on Goal: 4 (Banda– 2)
Fouls: 8 (Eight tied with – 1)
Offsides: 1
Corner Kicks: 4
Saves: 4 (Moorhouse – 4)

Referee: Elijio Arreguin
Assistant Referee 1: Seth Martin
Assistant Referee 2: Salma Perez
4th Official: Iryna Petrunok
VAR: Shawn Tehini
AVAR: Kaili Terry

Photos by Lee Pate

Reign visit Portland for Cascadia Derby part 39

Seattle Reign FC 0
Portland Thorns FC 4
May 11, 2024
Providence Park – Portland, OR
NWSL Regular Season

When the NWSL began in 2013 the Cascadia Derby was ready made for Thorns and Reign supporters and players. There was hope it would grow into something. Both clubs embraced the notion and also both clubs have been good. Shields and championship banners have helped boost the legacy and long serving players passed along the rivalry to newer teammates.
Traveling supporters were there from the very start. Saturday night in Portland and June 16 in Seattle will be the 39th and 40th matches in the series across all competitions.

The early goings of the 2024 campaign were not great for either club, but recent matches for both show that perhaps corners have been turned. Seattle has grabbed four points from six the past week, including winning playing the bulk of a match with ten and holding the highest scoring side goalless. Portland seemed to right the ship a bit quicker and went into the match with four wins on the trot.

Three points would help each club significantly in overcoming their slow starts.

A packed house in Portland was loud and rocking from the opening whistle. It was clear from the opening minutes that the match was going to be played with the intensity of a must win match and of a rivalry match.

Sophia Smith made herself known quickly, making dangerous runs and getting looks on goal in the first several minutes. The host Thorns have been clicking on offense in recent matches and that looked to be continuing as the first half progressed. The visiting Reign defense was tested early, but was playing with a similar resilience from recent matches.

Christine Sinclair has been a part of the rivalry since the beginning with Reign originals Lu Barnes and Jessica Fishlock. Sinclair combined with Smith and teenage teammate Olivia Moultrie early for a couple of decent looks on goal.

The first half heat index hydration break saw the match still level and goalless in the 31st minute. For the visitors playing their third match in nine days, there was a potential question as to whether a hot night might prove additionally challenging.

The Thorns had the statistical bulk of possession, pushing forward at every opportunity to get their attacking players forward. Seattle likes to play out of the back and appeared to be will to play pragmatic and absorb and counter. The majority of the Reign looks on goal came from the outside in, generally in the air on the cross.

Before the half could draw to a close level, Moultrie would crack a top of the box shot from right to the far post left, beating Reign keeper Laurel Ivory in the 42nd minute.

The Moultrie goal only added to the raucous Portland atmosphere. Seattle would get late chances in the half before the break, including a couple of set pieces.

A goal line clearance from Kelli Hubly on a Bethany Balcer header in first half stoppage time was potentially match saving for the Thorns, keeping the one goal margin going into the interval.

The physical intensity of the match amped up as the second half progressed. Eventually, a few yellow cards would emerge from the pocket as players from both sides pressed hard after every ball.

Seattle began to push forward more and quicker, looking to catch Portland on a quick counter. The Thorns did not attack less, but sent smaller numbers forward with the single goal lead and the clock in their favor.

VAR would award Portland a penalty in the 78th minute on a review of a hand ball against Reign defender Sofia Huerta. Thorns forward Sophia Smith would convert and the match went into the final stages with the hosts up two nil.

Seattle would play forward for the miracle finish, with Balcer having a header cleared off the line in the 89th minute. With thirteen minutes of stoppage time announced, there seemed to be a chance should they get one back quickly. Instead, Thorns midfielder Hina Sugita would make it a three nil lead three minutes into stoppage.

An intense rivalry game would end with the home side claiming victory and a four goal victory, as Payton Linnehan would tack on another in the 98th minute. After that, the Thorns saw out the lengthy stoppage time.

The win is the fifth consecutive for the Thorns and an offense that is really clicking. For Seattle, it was four of nine possible points from the three match week, but a brutal ending.

Emeri Adames entered the match in the 71st minute, allowing both sides to be featuring 18 year old attacking players. Moultrie has been in the rivalry for a few seasons now, but it was an introduction for Adames.

The match was played in Portland’s Providence Park in a sea of red. Over twenty thousand were on hand and were loud and engaged throughout. For a rivalry turning 40 in Seattle in a few weeks, the home crowd set a bar.



2024 NWSL Regular Season
Seattle Reign FC 0 – 4 Portland Thorns FC
Date/Time: Saturday, May 11, 7:00 p.m. PT
Location: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon
Weather: 80, sunny
Scoring Summary

SEA: None
POR: Moultrie – 42′, Smith – 80′, Sugita – 90+3’, Linnehan – 90+8’


SEA: McClernon (Caution – 58′), Huerta (Caution – 79′), Athens (Caution – 89)
POR: Moultrie (Caution – 61′)


SEA: GK Ivory, D Huerta, D Barnes (c), D Holmes, D McClernon (Brown 83’), M Fishlock, M Van der Jagt (Stanton 83’), M Ji, F Latsko (Adames 72’), F Balcer, F King (Athens 87’)
Unused substitutes: GK Perez, D Lester, D Woodham, M Stanton, F Weinert, M James-Turner

Total Shots: 13 (Holmes – 3)
Shots on Goal: 3 (Three tied with – 1)
Fouls: 10 (King – 5)
Offsides: 0
Corner Kicks: 4
Saves: 2 (Ivory – 2)

POR: GK Hogan, D Muller (Klingenberg 90+9’), D Sauerbrunn (c), D Hubly, D Payne (Reyes 85’), M Coffey, M Moultrie (Wade-Kotoa 90+9), M Fleming (Linnehan 61’), M Sugita, F Sinclair (Beckie 62’), F Smith
Unused substitutes: GK Alvarado, D Reyes, F Dias, M Sheva, D Nally

Total Shots: 14 (Smith – 5)
Shots on Goal: 6 (Smith – 2)
Fouls: 15 (Hubly – 3)
Offsides: 2
Corner Kicks: 3
Saves: 3 (Hogan – 3)

Referee: Abdou Ndiaye
Assistant Referee 1: Noah Kenyawani
Assistant Referee 2: Cameron Siler
4th Official: Jamie Padilla
Var: Adorae Monroy
Avar: Kaili Terry

Reign 0-0 versus Current in Seattle on Wednesday night

Seattle Reign FC 0
Kansas City Current 0
May 8, 2024
Lumen Field – Seattle, WA
NWSL Regular Season

Seattle Reign FC hosted Kansas City Current Wednesday night in Seattle.

The host Reign had the chance to grab three more points after a cathartic win over the weekend pulled them up out of the cellar. Wednesday’s match with KC is the second of three matches in nine days for the Reign.

Kansas City entered the match with the opportunity to tie or go top of the table with one or three points. KC also enters the match on short rest, having played away at Houston on Sunday.

Short rest and midweek match ups are a test of roster depth for clubs, and squad rotation was in full swing with the starting elevens.

The match was also a return to Seattle for Current head Coach Vlatko Andonovski. Andonovski was the Reign FC head coach in 2018 and 2019 prior to his stint with the USWNT, winning league coach of the year in 2019. Even with all the shifting and changing in between of stadiums and coaches, the match was essentially a Seattle versus KC with Harvey versus Andonovski like in the 2014 and 2015 NWSL Championship matches.

The early minutes saw the Current on the front foot, trying to press for an early goal. The Reign was without late scratch Alana Cook, but the defense was still primarily those that have played much of the minutes this season. Seattle was also starting goalkeeper Laurel Ivory for the fourth consecutive match. Ivory came up big over the weekend and was called upon early in this match.

The Current entered the match with the league best goal scoring offense, but also one of the most porous defenses. Seattle appeared willing to absorb and counter in the early going as the KC offense continued to look for openings and through balls. Reign teams have long preferred to play the ball out of the back.

Disaster nearly struck for the Reign in the 32nd minute as a Current cross deflected off two Reign defenders, but was cleared off the line by Ivory with a fantastic reflex save. Seattle had worked themselves into the match, but the later stages of the half saw KC once again on their front foot, pushing hard against the Reign defense.

Moving into the interval level and goalless seemed against the run of play; as KC had really tested the Seattle defense, and Seattle had a few nice opportunities on the counter. However, it was Ivory with several first half saves that was keeping her side in the match.

The Current front foot on the gas approach continued in the second half. KC continually put pressure on Seattle, but as the second half progressed the match remained a goalless affair.

Stoppage time found Seattle with some opportunities up front, but the Current defense also held tight. In the end, it was a hard fought goalless draw.

Defender Sofia Huerta was proud of how the Reign has responded to adversity early in this season. “I think tonight’s performance was big. I mean, we’re playing, right now, the best team in the league. We had a slow start to the season, but like we know, people who have been in this league for a long time, as you guys know, since you’ve been observing for a long time, the league is wild. You can’t let the losses get you down, you just have to turn them into lessons and I think we’ve done a really good job at not getting down. To not win five games in a row is really challenging as a team. So, to go down a man versus San Diego and then concede a goal immediately after, come back and score two goals in that game and win was a big game for us and I think we just got confidence after that game.”

Kansas City only grabs two points from the two matches on the road. These are two matches they dominated statistically, but just ended up drawing.

Seattle grabbed four gritty points from the two home matches and finds itself in much better position going into the Cascadia Derby match in Portland Saturday.


Scoring Summary

SEA: None
KC: None


SEA: None
KC: None


SEA: GK Ivory, D Huerta, D Barnes (c), D Holmes, D McClernon, M Athens (Balcer 62’), M Van der Jagt (Fishlock 78’), M James-Turner (Stanton 61’), F Ji (Mercado 90+6’), F Latsko, F Adames (Woodham 61’)
Unused substitutes: GK Perez, D Brown, D Lester, F Weinert,

Total Shots: 5 (Ji – 2)
Shots on Goal: 1 (Ji– 1)
Fouls: 4 (James-Turner – 2)
Offsides: 0
Corner Kicks: 2
Saves: 5 (Ivory – 5)

KC: GK Franch (c), D Rodriguez, D Robinson, S Ballisager Pedersen, D Steigleder (Mace 46’), M Feist, M Hutton (LaBonta 75’), M DiBernardo (Spaanstra 75’), F Chawinga, F Cooper (Pfeiffer 89’), F Lavogez (Debinha 65’)
Unused substitutes: D Wheeler, D Ball, M Scott, GK Silkowitz

Total Shots: 19 (Cooper – 5)
Shots on Goal: 5 (Cooper – 2)
Fouls: 6 (Cooper – 3)
Offsides: 1
Corner Kicks: 7
Saves: 1 (Franch – 1)

Referee: Anya Voigt
Assistant Referee 1: Art Arustamyan
Assistant Referee 2: Matthew Schwartz
4th Official: Kelsey Harms
VAR: Shawn Tehini
AVAR: Tom Felice

Lee Pate photos

Reign 2-1 over Wave in Seattle

Seattle Reign FC 2
San Diego Wave FC 1
May 3, 2024
Lumen Field – Seattle, WA
NWSL Regular Season

Seattle Reign FC hosted San Diego Wave FC in Seattle on Friday evening. Both clubs entered the match below the playoff line. Although still early in the season, a sense of urgency is beginning to creep in else a season can get away from a team.

The Wave entered the weekend in the 8th spot in the table, mere points from crossing the line and moving up. The Friday match would also be the club’s sixth of the season, drawing them level in matches played with the teams just above.

Seattle finds itself in troubled waters. With three points from six matches and looking all the way up the table, points are at a premium now. Some of the dropped points can be attributed to bad luck like a late own goal, but a lack of goals has put their defense into a place with limited margins for error. Friday was the first of three matches in nine days and a chance to right the ship and grab a cluster of needed points.

It did not take long for the match to get interesting. Reign forward Tziarra King was sent off with a straight red in the ninth minute after a VAR revue. Within minutes of the restart the Wave had grabbed a goal. Kyra Carusa managed to find the net amidst a loose ball scramble off the goalpost.

With the goal and the 11 v 10 advantage, San Diego took the opportunity to pick their spots. The Wave were also without Naomi Girma and Alex Morgan, so the early advantage was an opportunity to play safer.

Seattle looked to push, pressing hard and pursuing every loose ball, working to nab an equalizer they got in the 34th minute. Bethany Balcer leveled the match by intercepting a clearance from Wave keeper Kailen Sheridan and pouncing on the loose ball.

The first half ended level, with the red and five yellows being issued in what had become a tense and physical affair.

The pace of the match continued to be brisk in the early stages of the second half. Fresh legs looked to be a factor. San Diego brought Jaedyn Shaw in at the half and Maria Sanchez with a half hour remaining.

Seattle countered with Ji So-Yun and Veronika Latsko as veteran reinforcements. Reign teenager Emeri Adames had been the dangerous presence she has been all season.

Reign keeper Laurel Ivory kept the match level with a huge save in the 67th minute, just getting a right hand on a ball that seemed destined for the upper far corner.

In the 89th minute, Veronica Latsko got a header on a Ji free kick, floating it to the upper far corner for the improbable lead.

San Diego would throw everything forward after the Reign goal, pushing forward throughout stoppage time to create several chances and corners. Then, late in stoppage, another VAR review would send Wave defender Kristen McNabb off. The whistle would blow with both sides at ten players.

In the end, Seattle would not concede an equalizer, making several late defensive stops to hold on to the win.

After the match, Latsko was full of praise for the Reign effort. “I think it just shows that the team has grit and that’s the backbone of a championship kind of team. So, you don’t win anything without grit and we showed that
for 90 minutes tonight.”

The two reds and eight yellows is also noteworthy in that it set a league record for most bookings in a match with ten.

Seattle had not lost five in a row since the 2013 first club season. The Reign had suffered five single goal losses since the opening win. The three points are potentially season saving. San Diego has still not managed to grab points in matches in Seattle.


Scoring Summary

SEA: Balcer – 34′, Latsko – 89′

SD: Carusa – 11′


SEA: King (Red Card – 9’), James-Turner (Caution – 21′), Athens (Caution – 45+6’), Huerta (Caution – 65′), McClernon (Caution – 78′)

SD: Lundkvist (Caution – 24′), Bennett (Caution – 38′), van Egmond (Caution – 45+5’), McCaskill (Caution – 90+1’), McNabb (Red Card – 90+15’)


SEA: GK Ivory, D Huerta, D Barnes (c), D Cook, D McClernon (Holmes 90+2’), M Athens (Ji 67’), M Fishlock, M James-Turner (Weinert 90+2’), F Balcer (Van der Jagt 67’), F King, F Adames (Latsko 52’)
Unused substitutes: GK Perez, D Brown, D Woodham, M Stanton

Total Shots: 8 (Eight tied with – 1)
Shots on Goal: 3 (Three tied with – 1)
Fouls: 17 (Fishlock– 3)
Offsides: 1
Corner Kicks: 0
Saves: 5 (Ivory – 5)

SD: GK Sheridan, D McNabb, D Torpey, D Wesley, D Lundkvist, M McCaskill (Ascanio 90+4’), M Colaprico, M Van Egmond (Jones 90+4’), F Doniak (Ali 80’), F Carusa (Sanchez 63’), F Bennett (Shaw 46’)
Unused substitutes: D Westphal, M Enge, GK Messner, GK Beall

Total Shots: 12 (Carusa – 4)
Shots on Goal: 6 (Shaw, van Egmond – 2)
Fouls: 17 (Bennett, Lundkvist – 3)
Offsides: 3
Corner Kicks: 7
Saves: 1 (Sheridan – 1)

Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Bennett Savage
Assistant Referee 2: Darren Bandy
4th Official: Christopher Calderon
VAR: Adorae Monroy
AVAR: Kelsey Harms