Reign FC were down in Houston, Texas for some Friday night soccer and the results went to Vlatko Andonovski’s squad. Reign FC beat Houston Dash, 1-0 to put a stop on their two-match slide where they gave up six goals.
Under a smoldering Texas evening sun and the bright lights of a national TV broadcast on ESPNEWS, Andonovski went with three changes to his starting eleven tonight from Sunday’s lineup. With Allie Long and Megan Rapinoe off for the USWNT Victory Tour in Pasadena, Rosie White got the start in the midfield. Shea Groom got the start on the right wing with Bethany Balcer moving up top in place of Jodie Taylor. Celia Jiménez Delgado got the start in her natural right back position in place of Theresa Nielsen.
The lone goal came in the 21st minute when Reign FC midfielder Rosie White stayed relentless on a ball that hit Houston Dash defender Ally Prisock, and was able to scoop it for herself and fired past Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell’s right to find the back of her net. White’s goal is her first for Reign FC, and it comes 21 minutes into her second appearance for the club, likely setting a new efficiency index.
Under the sweltering Houston evening sun, the rest of the match played out with Reign FC grinding out and holding their defense despite Houston Dash dominating the possession and shots. Reign FC goalkeeper Casey Murphy returned to form before the last two matches, showing full control on defending set pieces and making the saves when she needed to.
Murphy’s best save on the night and surely will be a nominee for NWSL Save of the Week, came in the 78th minute when Dash forward Kealia Ohai fired from just outside the 18-yard box and Murphy went full extension on her 6’1” frame, diving left to swat it out.
Rosie White got the goal. Casey Murphy made the saves. Yet there was another element in tonight’s storyline. Andonovski was wearing a neon green substitute’s bib throughout the match. It likely was because Andonovski’s signature black polo is too close to Reign FC’s immensely dark blue primary kit and thus he was required to wear it for clear identification that he’s the coach.
In the 85th minute, Murphy was cautioned for time-wasting. ESPN’s camera fortunately captured Murphy’s reaction, which resembles a well-known emoji.
85' Yellow card issued to Casey Murphy for apparently time wasting.— Ride of the Valkyries (@rovalks) August 3, 2019
The win puts Reign FC back in the top 4 and importantly a playoff spot to end the evening. North Carolina Courage and Washington Spirit were supposed to play Friday evening as well, but the match has been rescheduled to tomorrow afternoon because of inclement weather. A Washington Spirit victory this weekend has them leapfrogging over Reign FC in the standings, and with Reign FC only having 10 matches left to play, every result they get in their favor and results around the league matter.
Next up for Reign FC is that familiar foe, the Portland Thorns. Reign FC return home to host Portland on Wednesday, Aug. 7 for the second installment of this year’s Cascadia Derby. Kickoff for that match is scheduled for 7 PM PST.