After what's felt like 84 years between games, OL Reign are in the final days before their first competitive match of 2021. On Friday, OL Reign begin their 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup campaign by hosting the reigning Challenge Cup champions, Houston Dash. Among the many things 2020 prevented from happening on the field were the rookie seasons of defender Machaela George and midfielder Kelcie Hedge. An unfortunate ACL tear for Hedge and just not enough NWSL matches between the Challenge Cup and Fall Series for George has them eyeing 2021 as their true first season with OL Reign, as part of the team's youth movement that will be expected contribute in the present and hopefully for years to come. As part of our conversation with the duo, we asked them for a little preview of Friday’s match and what OL Reign will need to do to get a result in their favor:
Machaela George: [Houston Dash] like to sit back and wait for us to come to them. Right from the start, we need to attack them, get on them. They were playing at their home field, which is a lot bigger than our home field and given our field is a lot smaller, there’s going to be a lot of tackles. I think it’ll be a great rematch for us to show what we’re capable of.
Kelcie Hedge: Maybe we can get a goal early on, then I think we can really dictate how the game’s gonna go and the pace of the game.
Susie Rantz (@SusieRants)
Jacob Cristobal (@jacobcristobal)
Steve Voght (@voght)
Album artwork: Amy Camber
Intro music: “A Brave Badger” by Soft and Furious
Outro music: “Toxic Music” by Soft and Furious