With all of their international players back, OL Reign will be looking to pick up road points on Sunday when they face Angel City FC in Los Angeles. The match will kick off at 5 PM PT and will stream on Paramount+ (U.S.), TSN+ (Canada), and the NWSL website (all other international viewers).
Reign head coach Laura Harvey confirmed in a pre-match press conference that all players are healthy and available for the first time all season.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of Sunday's road match.
OL Reign are coming off a disappointing performance that saw them fall 1-0 on the road to the Kansas City Current. The team just didn't look cohesive offensively. OL Reign have not scored more than one goal since July 1.
Angel City, meanwhile, is undefeated in their last eight matches across all competitions. That includes a 1-1 draw on the road against Racing Louisville last weekend. ACFC hasn't given up more than one goal per match during this time.
One reason Angel City has gone undefeated over the last two months is that they've come out with a lot more intensity and urgency. Of the last six matches where they've scored at least once, Angel City scored first in three of these matches. In the other three, they responded within eight minutes or less to equalize. That kind of mentality is hard for an opponent to disrupt.
With six matches remaining after this weekend, OL Reign have a 7-6-3 record. The Reign's 24 points put them in fifth place in the league heading into the weekend. Angel City is 4-6-6. The LA club has 18 points and sits in 10th.
In 16 games, the Reign have scored 23 goals and conceded 19. ACFC has scored 19 and conceded 24.
Head to Head
This is the fourth meeting between OL Reign and Angel City this year. OL Reign went 1-0-1 against Angel City in the Challenge Cup, defeating them 2-0 on the road before a scoreless draw at home. In the Reign's regular-season home match against Angel City back in May, it was the Veronica Latsko and Megan Rapinoe show – with Latsko scoring twice and Pinoe notching three assists as the Reign won 4-1.
The Reign are 6-0-1 all-time against Angel City.
Who to Watch
Central attacking midfielder Savannah McCaskill is driving Angel City's run right now. She covers so much ground and has been given the freedom to roam, find pockets of space, and make an impact. McCaskill scored three goals in July en route to being named Player of the Month.
McCaskill is second in the league in big chances created (six) and fifth in overall chances created. When she's on, her team is on. In fact, Angel City hasn't lost a match this year when McCaskill gets on the scoresheet.
What to Watch
How OL Reign presses
In their 4-1 win back in May, the Reign forced Angel City into 19 high turnovers. The press of Elyse Bennett, Rapinoe, Latsko, and Bethany Balcer swarmed Angel City's backline and midfield. Eight of those 19 turnovers resulted in shots, and two became goals.
OL Reign's front four won possession 31 times. ACFC’s front four won possession 13 times, by comparison. Can the Reign exploit Angel City in the same way? If Bennett starts, look to her to help lead the Reign press, as she's third in the league in possession won in the final third per 90.
A team that likes to cross
Angel City likes to cross the ball. They've attempted a league-leading 394 crosses – 80 more than Houston in second and 99 more than the Reign. Angel City also leads the NWSL in completed crosses into the penalty area (41), although the Reign are close behind with 38.
Winger Claire Emslie and attacking midfielder McCaskill lead this category for ACFC by some distance. Emslie has attempted 109 crosses, and McCaskill has attempted 79. While only 13 of Emslie's crosses have successfully connected with an Angel City player in the box, her attempts cause a lot of chaos for defenses.
And don't sleep on crosses from former Reign player Jasmyne Spencer.
Dangerous on set pieces
Angel City has scored the most goals from set pieces this year, with six to date. They also lead the league in expected goals from set pieces (4.9 xG). The Reign are close behind with five set-piece goals.
They're dangerous on corner kicks in particular, as Angel City fights for the ball when it gets whipped into the box.
ACFC also has players like Katie Johnson and Julie Ertz who are dangerous in the air.
OL Reign will also want to prevent Angel City from getting too many free kicks in and around the box, as they can do some damage from there. Case in point: this free-kick goal McCaskill scored last month.
Injury / Availability Report
OUT: Simone Charley (SEI – achilles), Julie Ertz (excused absence), Merritt Mathias (knee), Christen Press (SEI – knee)
How to Watch
OL Reign kicks off against Angel City FC at 5 PM PT on Sunday, August 27. The match will stream on Paramount+ (U.S.), TSN+ (Canada), and the NWSL website (international).