No time to rest and celebrate the laurels of pulling off a two-goal deficit comeback win in Los Angeles this past Saturday. OL Reign were right back on the field for matchday 13 to take on Racing Louisville FC in Louisville, Kentucky.
It looked to be a positive start for OL Reign with Jess Fishlock scoring in the second minute and a first half where the star-loaded team showed their quality over Racing Louisville. One moment of lapse gave Kirsten Davis and Racing Louisville an equalizer, and the season-long bugaboo for OL Reign of shooting but not converting into goals results in a 1-1 draw.
WHAT WORKED: THIRD-FASTEST GOAL IN CLUB HISTORY
If you fired up the broadcast late, you probably missed OL Reign striking first in the 2nd minute. Jess Fishlock claimed the third-fastest goal in club history with this one.
If you’re wondering what OL Reign goals have come in faster than that, they are:
WHAT WORKED: JORDYN HUITEMA IS SETTLING IN QUITE NICELY
With Bethany Balcer out for a second straight game due to an illness, Jordyn Huitema got another start. Perhaps her settling into the team is being accelerated because of the circumstance, but through two starts, there’s a lot to like with what she brings on the field. She is very much a target for crosses in the box at 5’11”, but in addition to that she’s looked confident with the ball and shooting as she sees fit. The further her integration with the squad goes, the more positive the outlooks appears to be with her.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: LAPSES LEADS TO CONCEDING GOAL
The first half had seven minutes of stoppage time due to Racing Louisville players Emily Fox and Gemma Bonner being treated for various head injuries. Bonner’s was the longest and when the match resumed, Quinn and Alana Cook were on the wrong end of chasing the ball, which Kirsten Davis ultimately finished on to equalize.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: ALL SHOTS, NO GOALS
Do you have a song that you know is bad, you don’t like it, yet it lives in your head rent free? The story of OL Reign’s season this far has been a bad song about shooting so many shots, yet not finding the back of the net. Of course it’s frustrating for them, but there really is no solution other than keep on shooting. Eventually the correct deflection off the post or crossbar will break in OL Reign’s favor, but tonight was another night in which OL Reign recorded 25 shots with a forgettable conversion rate.
OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey just had a one word summarization of tonight’s draw.
And yes it was a draw because of the fact that OL Reign kept on shooting and did not find the back of the net. Harvey has said throughout the season that the team needs to be ruthless in front of goal and the lack of that is what’s keeping the opposition in games.
“I’ve said this offseason, keep creating these chances, but I think the other side of it is you can’t keep just saying it. It isn’t a one off, you know, like this, this happened all the time. It starts in training, you know we’ve got to be more clinical in training we’ve got to work hard and training to get it right. We’ve got to show some composure, in the final moment. I don’t think we can just say keep shooting, I don’t think that’s not good enough at this level. You’ve got to get some technical execution behind that. I think the other side of it for us is the last two games with probably face the least amount of shots against us all year in two games, but we’ve conceded three goals and that’s not who we are either. So I think there’s like in the knock on effect of is missing chances is now impacting our ability of conceding goals and that’s what we have to change.”
Tonight was the penultimate match for Kim Little’s loan spell with OL Reign. After tonight’s match, Little reflected on her second stint with the club.
“It’s been great to be back, I had such a special time in Seattle before, and also because of people like Lu [Barnes] and then I go to come back in and be a part of that again, which is you know it means a lot to me. The girls have been great, welcomed me with open arms, which you know can be difficult, especially the middle of the season - a player that’s coming in and then leaving. I’ve given my all and I'm going to enjoy this last week and play on Sunday, with the team and hopefully we can get the three points for the Reign and then also I'll be supporting hugely from back in the UK. But yeah it’s been great, I can’t say enough about the team, I think this is a little bit of the character of the people, when you come to a team and feel welcome instantly and especially when you’re only here for a small time so, and you know I'm grateful for that. I hope we can get the three points on the board and Sunday, you know the girls can finish off the season on a high.”
The draw gives OL Reign 21 points and 4th place in the standings, with Houston Dash above them on goal differential. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s who OL Reign are playing next.
The brief two-game road swing comes to an end as they’re back in the comforts of Lumen Field for the next two matches, with the next one this coming Sunday, August 7. This will be the first meeting in 2022 between OL Reign and Houston Dash with kickoff scheduled for 3 PM PT. US viewers can watch the match on Paramount+ while international viewers can watch on Twitch.