Reign host Louisville needing points

Seattle Reign FC 1
Racing Louisville FC 1
June 23, 2024
Lumen Field – Seattle, WA
NWSL Regular Season

Seattle Reign FC hosted Racing Louisville FC on Sunday afternoon in Seattle as the second half of the NWSL season began. Seattle comes in having only secured eight points in the first thirteen matches and in desperate need of answers as much as points. Louisville has fifteen points and is just in the cluster of teams at the playoff line. Racing Louisvulle FC is coached by long time Reign FC player Bev Yanez.

It did not take long for the match to get interesting. Louisville’s Arin Wright was sent off after VAR review for taking down Reign forward Jordyn Huitema in the box. The ensuing penalty was taken and converted by Bethany Balcer for an early home side one nil lead.

With Louisville playing with ten and Seattle with an early lead, both sides took the time to set the tone as best they could. The Reign would find much of the possession and attack, but as the half moved along they did not find a second goal.

The hosts would press their advantage, pushing hard for the second goal. Louisville was weathering the pressure, but it was keeping them on the heels and minimizing their own opportunities forward. Tziarra King and Ji So-Yun would find opportunities thwarted by the Racing defense and keeper Katie Lund.

Taylor Flint would need to come off before the half after a flying collision with Reign keeper Claudia Dickey, adding to the first half difficulties for the visitors.

The single goal from the early penalty would carry the match into halftime.

Louisville would look to try and level in the early stages of the second half. Coming out of the gate and pressing, getting a few good looks on goal. The single goal margin stayed in place well into the second half as the two sides began to use the bulk of their substitutions. Seattle would create chances, but the one nil scoreline kept the tension on the pitch and the chance of nabbing at least a point within reach for the visitors.

The Reign continued to create chances, but the lack of a second goal into the final stretch of the match would bring more import to each possession and transition.

Louisville handled their early hardships well, staying in the match with patient team defense and picking their spots.

Late in stoppage time Louisville would take chances forward. Keeper Lund would come forward and take a long cross, with teammates getting on the end of it and Reilin Turner poking it home to bring the match level. Nabbing a road point under the circumstances was an amazing finish for Racing and meant the home Reign would not grab the three points they really needed and seemed to have in their grasp.

Photos by Lee Pate

Reign FC sale finally complete

Seattle Reign FC has officially announced the sale of the club to a group including Seattle Sounders FC ownership and global investment group Carlyle.

The transaction completion brings to an end one era and begins another.  However, the ownership sale has been long acknowledged as in progress and today’s announcement finally gives players, supporters, and the city a chance to move forward.

The group includes Carlyle’s Head of Private Credit, Alex Popov along with Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer.  Maya Mendoza-Exstrom will be Chief Business Officer and joins General Manager Lesle Gallimore and Head Coach Laura Harvey as the women led leadership team.

Cascadia NWSL Derby Turns 40

Seattle Reign FC 0
Portland Thorns FC 0
June 16, 2024
Lumen Field – Seattle, WA
NWSL Regular Season

When the NWSL began in 2013 there was hope amongst supporters and the Cascadia clubs that the regional rivalry could become something more than merely regional.  In over a decade both clubs have won trophies, played dramatic matches, and seen the rivalry actually develop across multiple competitions.  The Sunday match in Seattle is the 40th match between the two sides and a real rivalry has emerged. Both rosters have had long tenured players and coaches embrace the rivalry.  Traveling supporters have added atmosphere to matches.  The games have had consequences. Just over a month ago, the Thorns dropped four on the visiting Reign in Providence Park in a match that went sideways for the Reign late.

Since the match in Portland, the Thorns have maintained their spots near the top of the table. The hosts Reign have seen their usually stingy defense suddenly giving up goals in bunches and a season looking like it could slip away. Sophia Smith would not be available due to a red card suspension.  Sam Coffey, Olivia Moultrie, and Morgan Weaver were also out for the Thorns due to injury, while the Reign came in reasonably healthy. Claudia Dickey returned from injury in goal for the Reign, getting her first start in several weeks.

The Cascadia derbies have often been intense and physical affairs.  The level of intensity matching the level of the rivalry as it has grown.  It did not take long for the intensity to manifest in the form of a yellow card.  The first booking came a mere three minutes in to Portland’s Janine Beckie for a foul on Reign midfielder Jessica Fishlock. 

The first half would play out in waves of pressure. The early stages seemed as though both sides were poking and prodding, looking for any advantage that did not come.  As the middle of the half progressed, the hosts seemed to have the better of the ball and possession, but the Thorns counter was dangerous.

Eventually, both would get some good looks and set pieces, creating moments of danger in front of both goals.  Neither would break through.  Late in the half it appeared as though the Reign might grab a first goal, but the Portland defense handled Jordyn Huitema getting in behind.  The first half would end goalless.

Coming out of the interval the intensity ramped up.  Only a few minutes into the half and Reign defender Ryanne Brown would be booked for a foul on Christine Sinclair.  The physical play continued with several hard fouls causing a number of stoppages.

Seattle would find some good chances on goal in the middle third, but chips from Brown and a shot from Bethany Balcer  would go high.

Portland did not hold back attacking, even with so many injuries, but their forays forward tended towards counters and the defense stayed home.

The final stages of the match was a continuation of the pressure and physical intensity that had been the story of the match. All the stoppages led to significant added time, giving both clubs a chance to throw forward a few more attacks.

The goalless draw at least was a point for the Reign and clean sheet, given the 15 goals they had conceded over the previous four matches.  The single point for Portalnd was a well deserved grinded out road point given the circumstances.

The home side might rue the draw, given several really dangerous chances, but the point was their first since a similarly hard fought goalless home draw with Kansas City in May.

With this draw, the NWSL Cascadia derby has now run 40 matches.

Photos by Lee Pate