After taking a point on the road at Portland, OL Reign were back at Lumen Field for the first of three home matches in a week. Sunday afternoon saw Laura Harvey’s squad host the reigning NWSL Champions, Washington Spirit. Despite promising chances and solid containment of Washington Spirit’s attacking trio, OL Reign could not get the full three points and had to settle for a scoreless draw.
The match did yield some individual milestones for OL Reign, as captain Lauren Barnes crossed the 15,000 regular season minutes played mark, while forward Veronica Latsko made her 50th NWSL regular season appearance.
WHAT WORKED: CONTAINING WASHINGTON’S ATTACK
When you think of the Washington Spirit, you think of their attacking trio of Trinity Rodman, Ashley Hatch, and Ashley Sanchez. All three have punished NWSL teams and OL Reign are no exception. Yet the Reign defense were able to contain the collective’s potential to impact the game. Everyone’s favorite goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce had a rather quiet afternoon, with the Spirit putting just two shots on goal.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: QUALITY SHOOTING
While the team was able to contain Washington’s impact players, they struggled to make an impact offensively to beat Washington’s Aubrey Kingsbury. The Reign had their chances, but their 20 shots (eight on target) either went straight to Kingsbury’s sure hands or were off target.
Looking at it as a glass half-full, it’s good to see OL Reign shooting, but they know they have to convert some of those chances. You can’t punch a ticket to the playoffs in April/May, but victories in the first two months of the season can build up credit for the long, hard road of the regular season when wins can become a premium.
“Lu Barnes is a legend for a reason and today’s an example of that.”
While Harvey was disappointed that the team was unable to find the back of the net despite their multitude of shots, she was not short of words in acknowledging Barnes reaching such an incredible milestone.
“Anytime she’s come up against adversity and when people have doubted her, she’s come back and proven that. She is one of the best players to have played in this league and to do it for one club is a unbelievable achievement. To do it for this club is an even bigger achievement, and to do it at the level that Lu’s done it is phenomenal and to consider that she’d never played centerback in her life before she came to this club and it just makes it even more rewarding, so yeah I mean Lu Barnes is a legend for a reason and today’s an example of that.”
Barnes also had some words for teammate Veronica Latsko on her own milestone today.
I’m just going to add that I’ve played against Veronica for a while and it’s always been a pain in the ass. I think that’s what she’s created on the field for us as well is something that we’ve needed for a really long time, and she’s coming to this team and has done so so well. I think what you guys don’t see a lot of is the off-the-field stuff, and at practice I think it’s something our club’s needed for so long. I’m so happy that she’s here and she’s reached 50 with this team, because I think we’re going to be able to utilize her really well and I think it’s just going to get better and better.”
With the draw, OL Reign remain in the bottom third of the table with three points from four games. It’s a quick turnaround for OL Reign as their next match is only three days away, when they host the Kansas City Current on Wednesday evening. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 PM PT and will be broadcast in the US on Paramount+, while international viewers can watch on Twitch.