Reign and Royals split needed points in Seattle

Seattle Reign FC 1
Utah Royals FC 1
July 7, 2024
Lumen Field – Seattle, WA
NWSL Regular Season

Reign FC and Utah Royals met Sunday afternoon in Seattle in the final regular season NWSL matchday prior to the Olympic break. Both clubs find themselves looking up from the bottom of the table, but a little run of a few matches could jump a side up near that playoff line.  Three points was essential.

The Utah return to NWSL play has been a rough start, with a coaching change in the middle of this first season. Jimmy Coenraets will serve as interim head coach for the Royals.

Seattle finally caught a break nabbing a late point from a stoppage time ownb goal last week at Gotham FC. Many more breaks are needed to claw back up the table. Late season runs have been a thing for the Reign in recent seasons.

The first half was a hard hitting affair. Both sides contested loose balls and passes with the intensity of teams that needed the result.

Seattle was able to get in front of the Utah goal a number of times in the early stages, but the Royals were defending well in numbers. Pushing the ball up either flank with overlapping outside backs, the Reign were getting the ball into the dangerous places.  Utah managed to congest the front of their goal and converged, blocking lanes.

The attacks were creating chances, but few really good looks on goal for either side as the half wound down. Bethany Balcer saw a good chance go wide in the 36th minute. Utah hit the crossbar from range after a bad Reign giveaway in stoppage time.

The match would go into the half level and scoreless.

VAR would come into play early in the 2nd half. Seattle would find the back of the net, but in the sequence leading in there was a collision in front of the goal with the Utah keeper. The review would pull the goal back and leave the match goalless.

Much of what was happening in the first half continued well into the second.  Each team was moving the ball, sometimes getting it into dangerous positions, but ultimately unable to get many good clear chances in front of the goal before team defending mucked up the works.

On the artificial surface in the unusual Seattle heat, the subs came on in waves, both coaches trying to get fresh legs on. Even so, the pressing by both teams continued, but the field seemed more spread.  Under these conditions it was not a surprise when a giveaway in the defense led to a goal.

Ally Sentnor would take her chance and get Utah their goal in the 67th minute, gaining possession in the Seattle third and managing to hold off defenders and getting the ball past Reign keeper Claudia Dickey.

Seattle would get their goal in the 75th minute to bring matters level. Veronica Latsko would get in behind the Utah defense and left foot a volley home. The goal brought the energy back to both sides in the sweltering conditions, breathing life back into the pressing.

Points have been at a premium for both Seattle and Utah in 2024. Even though one point would be something, both really needed three.  Play would get more and more direct in the waining minutes and stoppage time, with both taking risks forward, but with fewer numbers.

This was a match where the team defenses ultimately clogged up the chances enough to keep the score low.  Each side grabbed a goal and therefore a point, but in the end it isn’t what either club needs to push up the table this season.

The clubs and the league now enter the Olympic break with the draw. After a brief respite, the same two teams square off in two weeks in Seattle in the NWSL X Liga MX Femenil Cup on July 19th.

BOX

Scoring Summary

SEA: Latsko – 75’
UTA: Sentnor – 67’

Discipline

SEA: None
UTA: None

Lineups

SEA: GK Dickey, D Huerta, D Brown (Holmes 59’), D McClernon, D Cook, M Fishlock (c) (James-Turner 59’), M Quinn (Athens 90+1’), M Ji, F King (Adames 90+1’), F Balcer (Latsko 64’), F Huitema Unused substitutes: GK Ivory, D Woodham, M Mercado, M Stanton

Total Shots: 20 (King, Latsko – 4)
Shots on Goal: 6 (King – 3)
Fouls: 4 (Four tied with– 1)
Offsides: 4
Corner Kicks: 5
Saves: 7 (Dickey – 7)

UTA: GK Haught, D Del Fava, D Burns, D Pogarch, M Foederer, M Nyberg (Flynn 46’ (Merrick 8`’)), F Mozingo, F Monaghan (c) (Tucker 81’), F Sentnor, F Betfort (Onumonu 77’)Unused substitutes: GK Roque, M Gray, D Riehl

Shots: 15 (Sentnor – 7)
Shots on Goal: 7 (Sentnor – 7)
Fouls: 8 (Betfort, Tejada – 2)
Offsides: 2
Corner Kicks: 2
Saves: 5 (Haught – 5)

Referee: Matt Thompson
Assistant Referee 1: Darren Bandy
Assistant Referee 2: Matt Trotter
4th Official: Kelsey Harms
VAR: Alexandra Billeter
AVAR: Kaili Terry

Lee Pate Photos