TACOMA — After spending the last two weeks on the road in which they experienced a most baffling of losses at Chicago, and responded with a solid, team win at Orlando, OL Reign were back in the friendly comforts of home, hosting the new team on the block, Racing Louisville FC.
This was the game in which forward Eugénie Le Sommer finally arrived, claiming a first-half brace, proving that the best form of entertainment is not fancy light bulbs choreographed to music, but goals into the back of the net. Paired with strong team defense in the second half to stop some solid scares, and OL Reign compiled their first winning streak on the season, defeating Racing Louisville, 2-0.
WHAT WORKED: MON DIEU EUGÉNIE LE SOMMER
It was a matter of time before Le Sommer was going to find the back of the net. The amount of influence she’s made on the field for OL Reign, she was frankly deserving a goal.
And what a first goal for her OL Reign stint it was.
This is why we call her, “The Undertaker.”
It's goal No. 1 in a Reign uniform for Eugenie Le Sommer!— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) August 1, 2021
The home team takes the lead! #RGNvLOU | https://t.co/iecT7II54a | #NWSL pic.twitter.com/goMjG1rnU1
And she did not stop there, as she started the OL Reign Light Show and kept it going in the 43rd minute after collecting a sublime through ball from Jess Fishlock.
It's Le Sommer's world, we're all just living in it #RGNvLOU | https://t.co/iecT7II54a | #NWSL pic.twitter.com/jtGYHjREuh— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) August 1, 2021
Le Sommer’s first-half brace sure got the attention of a certain incoming head coach.
Boooommmmmm get in there! @ELS_9_FRANCE congrats on your two amazing goals! https://t.co/iKUSHxwbDD— Laura Harvey (@LH1505) August 1, 2021
“I’m happy for the team and of course happy for me. I just want to keep going as a team. I know we can be better, so it’s not finished, but it’s a good way to start and continue,” Le Sommer said in her post-match press conference when asked about finally opening her goal account for OL Reign.
WHAT WORKED: ANOTHER CLEAN SHEET
At the end of the day, the scoreline will show another clean sheet for OL Reign, but they sure had to earn it with total team defense.
The partnership between defenders Sam Hiatt and Alana Cook continues to grow and yield solid play. It was unfortunate to lose Madison Hammond so early in the match, but Celia answered the bell. If Le Sommer’s magic was the tale of the first half, the tale of the second was the collective effort by OL Reign to keep the two-goal lead. Racing Louisville had their chances in the second half, namely a Nadia Nadim header in the 68th minute, and a Cheyna Matthews direct shot in the 89th minute that could have massive momentum swings.
in talking about Celia coming in for the injured Hammond, Sam Hiatt said in her post-match press conference, “We have a lot of faith in every single player on this team to step up when they need to and we also know Celia has a lot of experience as well, so I don’t think I was worried. She could just fly into that role and fill it perfectly.”
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: THE GOAL THAT PUTS THE GAME TO REST.
The way the first half went with the Le Sommer-directed OL Reign light show, we might have been close to seeing a hat trick from the French striker. You all know the saying, a two-goal lead does not guarantee a victory. Lack of a third goal, much less that same amount of danger directed at Racing Louisville’s goal in the second half is going to be one of those things that OL Reign need to do less of. The attack sure looks to start waking up and it the whole package is starting to come together, but that goal that puts an emphatic stamp on it being a total OL Reign dominance & victory hasn’t been manufactured. Yet.
“YOU CANNOT BE GREEDY WHEN IT COMES TO VICTORIES”
That was the theme of interim head coach Sam Laity’s press conference after the match tonight. Laity elaborated by saying, “I think as a coach sometimes you have this vision of how you want to see the game being played, how you want to score and where you want to score, and you want the tactics that you look to implementing it so you’re finding all those things to come off. Almost every victory in this league is different.” Laity went on to praise the team’s response to losing defender Hammond early in the match, as well as sustaining long spells of pressure and attack from Racing Louisville in the second half.
The victory over Racing Louisville gives OL Reign 16 points and 8th in the standings. Next up for OL Reign is another home match. this time hosting the Houston Dash on Saturday, August 7 with a 7 PM PT kickoff. The match will be broadcast on Twitch.