Earlier this season, Reign FC traveled to Bridgeview, Illinois to take on the Chicago Red Stars. They were scheduled to play on a Saturday night, but a lot of snow happened and it forced the match to be postponed for the morning after.
It didn’t turn out well for Reign FC as the Sunday morning affair wasn’t much of a contest, as they lost 3-0.
This Sunday evening was a lot better for Reign FC as they claimed their second-ever win at Chicago Red Stars, beating them 1-0.
The match was the debut of newly-acquired Chicago Red Star player Savannah McCaskill as she was on the starting lineup for Chicago and immediately added bite to their attack with the absence of Australian international Sam Kerr at the World Cup.
Though she had familiarity in connecting with Red Stars and former Reign FC forward Katie Johnson, Reign FC’s defense and goalkeeper Casey Murphy were able to contain Chicago’s threats. Offensively, Reign FC played most of the first half quiet, patiently looking for windows to exploit on a tight Chicago defense. Their best effort came in the 32nd minute when forward Ifeoma Onumonu made a run into the box and fired with too much zip on it as it bounced off the crossbar.
While the Red Stars had a couple of chances coming off set pieces, the one play that forced the most effort out of Murphy was a distance shot by McCaskill in the 41st that forced Murphy to dive high and to her right.
Patience was the name of the game for Vlatko Andonovski’s squad tonight and ultimately it paid off in the 81st minute. After a second half that was dominated by heavy rain falling on the pitch, it was Reign FC themselves that got the last shot to put a proper damper on Red Stars fan’s Sunday evening.
Onumonu dribbled into the box and sent in a pass that took a deflection off Red Stars defender Katie Naughton, but Jess Fishlock was able to corral it, turn and fire with her right foot and past goalkeeper Emily Boyd for the game’s only goal.
Minutes later, Reign FC almost claimed their second goal when Addison Steiner, making her debut for the club, had an open-net chance, but she wasn’t able to frame up her body and get a clean shot, instead the ball going way over.
The defense that had kept Chicago in check for the first half was able to keep it so and Reign FC held on for the win. Doing so was significant for two reasons. First, it was their first win on the road this season. Second, getting the result against the Red Stars on the road is very rare. Tonight’s win was the club’s second ever win at Red Stars territory.
The win also sends Reign FC moving up the league table as entering the match they were in 7th position. Now they’re in 4th position with 14 points and while there is a whole lot of matches to play, sitting in a playoff spot is still very nice.
Reign FC continue their month-long road trip for their next match, as they head to Rio Tinto Stadium for a match against Utah Royals FC and former Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey. That match is scheduled to kickoff Friday, June 28 at 7 PM PST.