After earning back-to-back draws, Reign FC is looking for its first win of the season against a tough Chicago Red Stars squad. The road match — postponed a day due to snow — kicks off Sunday at 10 AM PT. Yahoo! Sports is the streaming partner.
After snowing yesterday evening, Bridgeview’s weather forecast predicts sunny skies and temperatures in the 40s. Injuries remain a factor for Reign FC. While the Red Stars have a few injuries heading into today’s game, Reign FC are impacted by numerous injuries to key players, including international stars Megan Rapinoe and Steph Catley.
Both squads have two points after two matches, with Chicago earning draws against Portland and North Carolina. Last week’s game against Portland was a wild 4-4 affair that saw the Red Stars crawl back three different times to equalize. This is a team with a lot of grit and tenacity. That sounds pretty familiar to Reign fans as well.
Absences: Injury, international duty and suspension
Reign FC: Jasmyne Spencer and Taylor Smith are both out due to ACL tears. Megan Rapinoe and Steph Catley remain out as they recover from calf strains. Darian Jenkins traveled but is questionable with a hamstring strain.
Chicago: Midfielder Nikki Stanton (left hip) and defender Arin Wright (right thigh) are out. Midfielders Morgan Brian (left thigh) and Vanessa DiBernardo (left hip) are questionable, though both saw limited time last weekend.
Keys to the Game
- Swarm the midfield: Chicago has a lot of playmakers in the center of the field, and none are more important than Yuki Nagasato at the moment. Reign are going to need to be relentless in swarming the ball in the center of the pitch to keep those opportunities limited.
- Use the width: SeatGeek is a wide field, and Chicago doesn’t always use the width to their advantage. Reign FC have had some luck getting the ball wide and stretching defenses. This is the game to capitalize on that.
- No mistakes: It sounds obvious, but if there is any player you don’t want to give the ball in a dangerous area, it’s Sam Kerr. The defensive passing and possession is going to have to be close to perfect.
5’ - Balcer unleashes a rocket of a shot from distance, which Alyssa Naeher tips and it hits the crossbar.
13’ - Wind playing a role here. Chicago goes up 1-0 on this Casey Short schross.
36’ - A nice idea from the Reign, but Taylor was a step behind the defense before the pass.
43’ - Huge save by Lydia Williams on a Sam Kerr opportunity.
53’ - A huge save by Williams, but the rebound falls nicely for Yuki Nagasato to loft her shot in for Chicago’s second goal.
60’ - Taylor almost pulls one back, but it’s apparently cleared off the goal line!
79’ - Williams with a big save off a Red Stars set-piece.
89’ - Elby finds herself wide open for Chicago’s third goal.
Only one change from last week for Reign FC. Lydia Williams replaces Michelle Betos in goal.
Morgan Brian returns to the starting lineup for Chicago.
How to Watch
Date/Time: Sunday, April 28, 10 AM PT
Location: SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, IL
Join the Discussion
This is your Reign FC v. Chicago Red Stars gamethread. Head to @rovalks on Twitter for real-time updates, or join the conversation in the comments below.