Stoppage time goal gives OL Reign 1-0 win over San Diego Wave

[JL is still having technical issues with WordPress, so I’m posting his copy for him. – VT]

OL Reign 1
San Diego Wave FC 0
April 15, 2023
Lumen Field – Seattle, WA
NWSL Regular Season

The OL Reign hosted the San Diego Wave FC in Seattle at Lumen Field on Staurday night. Match day three of the NWSL Regular season was the home opener for the Reign coming off the recent international break.

Both sides went into the break on a winning note, with the Reign bouncing back from an opening loss and San Diego taking the full six points from the opening two matches while averaging three goals per match.

The Seattle side came into the match with a new distraction. Earlier in the week it became known that the OL Groupe was actively in a process to sell the club. Details are slim at this stage, but it appears that changes are again on the horizon for a club in its eleventh season, third brand identity, and fourth stadium home.

Additionally, with the next international window being when players are released for World Cup duty, NWSL sides now have a couple months and a dozen or more league and Challenge Cup matches wihtout interuption.

In an odd scheduling quirk, despite having played both league and Challenge Cup matches last season, the two sides had not faced each other in almost a year. The Wave are no longer the expansion side trying to get off to a good start and Seattle is playing its first home match coming off a NWSL Shield winning season.

The match began with a rapid pace of play. OL Reign pressed hard in the first minutes, Emily Sonnett getting forward in the first minute and the home side keeping San Diego mostly in their own defensive third a good chunk of the first half.The Reign created a number of good early opportunities, but were unable to break through the Wave defense to get the early goal. As the first half moved along, the Wave began to find their spots, getting Alex Morgan forward with some through balls and putting pressure on the Reign in transition.San Diego’s defense managed to hold their shape against the quick combination play and high press Seattle likes to play. Moving into the later stages of the first half the Wave got forward creating dangerous situations, but neither side was breaking through on the scoreboard. The Wave were rewarded with their pressure with their first corners, pushing the Reign back into their own defensive third for the first lengthy stretches.The match would go into the interval level and goalless.

Where the home Reign had pushed forward in the first minute on the kickoff, the Wave followed suit pushing forward and getting the Reign on their heels to open the second half.The Wave nearly opened the scoring in those first few mintues, but Phallon Tullis-Joyce was up to the task on back to back shots by Alex Morgan and Amirah Ali. It was clear San Diego had come out of the interval with their foot on the gas.As the middle of the half approached and the match remained scoreless, both sides began to vary their offensive approach. The Wave began to add numbers to their attacks. The Reign began to work the ball more wide, creating more crosses and diagonal runs.

The first group of substitutions came along in the 64th as coaches Laura Harvbey and Casey Stoney began to tinker with frest legs and line up changes.Megan Rapinoe entered the match in the 72nd minute, and her impact was nearly instant. Jess Fishlock fopund Rapinoe on the left flank, a few touches later she launched a shot from the top of the box. Wave keeper Kailen Sheridan was up to the task, snatching the ball out of the air diving to her left. Moments later Sheridan was again tested as Rapinoe and Bethany Balcer nearly connected on a through ball across the goal.

As regulation wound down to ten minutes, San Diego’s excellent counter once again put the Reign defense on their heels. Once again, the goalkeepers were up to the task at each end.

The final minutes and stoppage were end to end with neither side playing for the draw.

The winner did come in the fifth minute of stoppage. Olivia Van der Jagt scored on a shot through traffic that got past Sheridan to her right. Moments later, the 1-0 scoreline would hold.

A terrific end for the Reign, grabbing the full three points. A brutal end for the Wave, that had looked like they would grab a deserved road point.




RGN: Van der Jagt – 90+5’
SD: None


RGN: None
SD: Hill (Caution – 90+4’)


RGN: GK Tullis-Joyce, D Barnes, D Hiatt, D Cook, D Huerta, D Sonnett (Quinn 79’), M Fishlock, M Van der Jagt, F King (Rapinoe 73’), F Balcer, F Huitema (Bennett 87’)
Unused substitutes: GK Ivory, M Stanton, M Athens, D Brown, F Latsko, D Holmes

Total Shots: 16 (Fishlock – 5)
Shots on Goal: 5 (Rapinoe – 2)
Fouls: 12 (Four tied with– 2)
Offsides: 3
Corner Kicks: 4
Saves: 3

SD: GK Sheridan, D McNabb, D Girma, D Riehl, D Westphal, M Kornieck (Jakobsson 79’), M Colaprico (Briede 64’), F Shaw (Hill 87’), F Doniak, F Morgan, F Ali (Turnbow 64’)
Unused substitutes: M Enge, D Pogarch, D Gyau, GK Brzykcy

Total Shots: 10 (Morgan – 3)
Shots on Goal: 3 (Morgan – 2)
Fouls: 10 (Doniak – 3)
Offsides: 1
Corner Kicks: 3
Saves: 4 (Sheridan – 4)

Referee: Tori Penso
Assistant Referee 1: Brooke Mayo
Assistant Referee 2: Katarzyna Wasiak
4th Official: Corbyn May
Var: Christopher Spivey
Avar: Tyler Wyrostek

Preseason International Friendly: Club América Femenil 1 @ OL Reign 3

[Jeff is having some struggles with his account, so I’m posting for him – Vanya. This should be under his byline. No idea why WordPress is giving us fits.]

OL Reign 3
Club America Femenil 1
February 25, 2023
Starfire Stadium – Tukwila, WA
Club International Friendly

It was a beautiful, albeit frozen, Pacific Northwest February evening and OL Reign hosted new partner Club America Femenil in a club international friendly in the cozy confines of Starfire Stadium.

For the host Reign it was also a first chance to get on the pitch against a professional opponent since the disappointment of the semifinal loss to Kansas City Current that ended their 2022 run. An offseason training move to Starfire has placed the club back training on the site of the inaugural season 2013 grounds. Hosting matches like this club international friendly could become a semi-regular occurrence moving forward.

The hosts pressed early, going for the opening goal. Bethany Balcer got an early break in on goal, but the Club America defense held off the initial attacks.

In the 11th minute Tziarra King got a pretty touch with a left footed volley on the fly into the America net to give the Reign their first goal. The goal was a solid combination of cross from Veronica Latsko to King’s finish; with King hitting a clean touch just over the reach of the keeper into the net.





Both supporters groups in the announced crowd of 2666 were in good form, bringing a rocking atmosphere to the small Starfire Stadium set up.

America would regroup from the goal and in the 29th minute, as a series of shots had the Reign defense working to cover as two shots hit the crossbar and left goalpost in brief succession.

The match went into the half at two nil. A first half stoppage time own goal suddenly doubled the lead just seconds before the whistle. Bethany Balcer broke down the left side and send a well timed long thru ball that took an unfortunate deflection off the CAF defender and past the CAF keeper into the net.

Reign Coach Laura Harvey shifted out half of her starters at the interval, bringing on five replacements. Jess Fishlock was one of the players that entered the match at the half and immediately broke through past the defense to create a scoring chance. The starting eleven and a number of the players that entered at the half looks to be a likely rotation Seattle fans can expect to see during the World Cup in the summer.

The 74th minute was finally the breakthrough for Club America. Kiana Palacios slotted a ball past the Reign defense and cut the lead to 2-1, adding late drama to the proceedings.

Non-roster invitee McKenzie Weinert capped the evening off in the 89th minute, driving a left footed shot past into the net and making the most of an opportunity in the later stages to get minutes. The 3-1 scoreline would turn out to be the final score, in what was a pretty entertaining match.

Club America is in its regular season and showed the ability to create dangerous moments. The own goal just prior to the half altered the trajectory of the match, but getting the goal back in the second half to cut the lead showed their class.

Much of the roster moves and preseason for the Reign seems to have given focus to the period of time when seven or eight regular starters for the Reign are likely to be gone for an extended period. As all NWSL clubs face choices on what to do roster wise for the matches during that period, the Reign’s approach has been to utilize the early training camp period to simulate much of that part of the season up front. The Reign will miss starters on all three lines with Huerta, Rapinoe, Quinn, Huitema, Cook, Lavelle, and Sonnett all in line to be representing the USA and Canada. Having veterans like Lu Barnes, Jess Fishlock, Bethany Balcer, and Tziarra King available to build around sets OL Reign up pretty well for the international absences.

There were a number of big moves in the offseason around the league. The Reign did move to bring in Emily Sonnett and recently signed Brazilian Luany, but much of the clubs moves this offseason were in retaining and extending contracts and building on the Huitema deal midseason 2022.
OL Reign used the match to get all three of its keepers minutes. Regular starter Phallon Tullis-Joyce took the first forty-five. Laurel Ivory and Claudia Dickey split the minutes in the second half, with Dickey coming on in the 75th after the Palacios goal.


2023 International Preseason Friendly
OL Reign 3-1 Club América

Date/Time: Saturday, February 25, 2023, 7:30 p.m. PT
Location: Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, Washington
Weather: 38, light wind

RGN: King (Latsko) – 11’, Weinert – 90’
AME: Own goal – 45+1’, Palacios – 74’

Referee: Karen Callado
Assistant Referee 1: Kate Wasiak
Assistant Referee 2: Baboucarr Jallow
4th Official: Kelsey Harms


Photography by Lee Pake and Vanya Tucherov

Sam Laity to Replace Farid Bentisti as OL Reign HC

From the team’s press release.

TACOMA, WA (July 2, 2021) – OL Reign today announced that Farid Benstiti has resigned his position as head coach of the club with immediate effect. Assistant coach Sam Laity, who has been with the club since its inaugural season in 2013, will serve as interim head coach, beginning with tonight’s match in Houston against the Dash.

“We are appreciative of Farid’s many contributions to the club over the past 18 months and wish him the best in all his future endeavors,” said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore. “We have great respect for Farid’s talents and all he brought to the organization, but in our recent conversations there was a collective agreement that new leadership was required to achieve the performances and results needed to satisfy our ambitions.”

Benstiti was hired by OL Reign in January 2020 and led the club through twenty matches across four competitions, including the Challenge Cups in 2020 and 2021, the 2020 Fall Series, and the first seven matches of the 2021 NWSL Regular Season. Benstiti’s record during his tenure was 6 wins, 9 losses and 5 draws, including last Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Gotham FC.

North Carolina Courage at OL Reign (0:0)

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«Que pense Pringle ?» – What’s Pringle Thinking? Regular Season Opener (v. North Carolina Courage) Edition

So, a few weeks ago, we had the Bouhaddi and Maroszan announcement. This week, Eugénie LeSommer was announced as coming over to join OL Reign as well.

With the team not likely to feel too much of an impact from the Olympics (Rapinoe, Quinn, Bardsley and possibly Jess Fishlock – dependent on whether Team GB calls in Welsh and Scotland Nationals or sticks with just England’s), the three OL players are going to show up when most of the league is starting to be depleted. And if they weren’t planning to get significant minutes, why would they come over?

The question will be “at whose expense?” Particularly in the attack – will this displace Bethany Balcer or Tziarra King to a secondary role, or bump one of them (I’d think Balcer more likely) into a false 9 or attacking mid running in behind LeSommer? But we’ll get those answers soon enough.

Tonight, we’ll see the North Carolina Courage, who may end up both scoring and conceding the most goals in the league. If this match becomes a track meet, it’s unlikely to end well for the home side. If, on the other hand, the Reign can limit NCC on the counter and build pressure into attack, it bodes well for them. Hopefully, the hostesses will show the form of the last two weeks of the Challenge Cup, and not the first two, and will bank three points in their opener.

«Que pense Pringle ?» / What’s Pringle Thinking? – Post-Portland Debacle Edition

This entire match can be summarized in one play: the Reign have a throw-in on the right touch line, nearly parallel with the top of the 18-yard box in their attacking zone. The throw-in is taken, and the recipient turns and passes back to either Amber Brooks or Madison Hammond (I can’t recall which) in the Reign defensive third.

Because when you can’t coordinate linking play to advance the ball into attack, you deliberately cede 150 feet of the pitch.


Or in two plays: Karen Bardsley makes an ordinary save, and looks to distribute quickly. By throwing the ball directly to a Thorns player’s feet.

This is a team which may have extraordinary talent, but two matches in, it’s becoming clear that they’re not being coached to play as a unit or to succeed.

The back four struggled again. Bardsley looked even more lost than against Houston in marshalling them in front of her. There’s little linking or transition play.

Apparently US Soccer dictated 30′ max for Megan Rapinoe. No idea why Jess Fishlock went less than 45′. Ride of the Valkyries is reporting that we didn’t see Lu Barnes for a second week due to an injury and not being match fit. Not to doubt our colleagues, who are passing on what they’ve been told, but if Barnes is injured and not match ready, why is she dressed for the match rather than being on the injury report? Something’s highly suspect there.

Sooner or later, there has to be accountability, and looking unprepared two matches in a row should be putting the coaching staff in an uncomfortable spot. Not winning due to a bad bounce or missed play is one thing, but looking underprepared and disjunct points a finger at coaching.