OL Reign and the Washington Spirit played to an entertaining scoreless draw on Friday night in Seattle. The point kept the Reign above the playoff line heading into Decision Day next weekend.
Of course, the most important stat of the evening was 34,130 – the record-breaking number of people who came to Lumen Field to thank a legend.
Here are three other stats from the Reign's scoreless draw.
The Washington Spirit had 569 touches against OL Reign, their fourth-highest total this season (FBref). They also had a season-high 234 touches in their defensive third and maintained 55% of possession during the match. Both are not typical stats for the Spirit, who prefer to cede possession to their opponents and play a disruptive style defensively.
Instead, the Reign were comfortable dropping off the Spirit when they had the ball on their backline. Megan Rapinoe and Veronica Latsko were the two players who stayed higher when the Spirit had the ball deep, with Bethany Balcer and Jess Fishlock dropping into the midfield together to cut off passes into their double-pivot midfield.
Latsko was often the player who would jump and apply pressure to the Spirit centerbacks. The approach was often focused on cutting off passes to the wide players on the right while keeping numbers in the middle.
The Reign created one of their most dangerous chances from this defensive approach.
The Reign did well to keep this defensive shape and prevent the Spirit from having too many dangerous chances until the last 10 minutes of the match. That's when Claudia Dickey took over the match – coming up big to earn her clean sheet.
On the other end, the Spirit attempted the fewest tackles + interceptions of any match this season. They were dispossessed a season-high 16 times.
Interestingly, the Spirit have registered 500 or more touches in just nine of their 21 games – and they haven't won any of those matches.
According to data from Wyscout, OL Reign had an 81% pass completion rate in the first half and a 66% rate in the second. Those numbers match the eyeball test as well. The Reign had control in the first half, but just couldn't score, and the Spirit disrupted their play in the second half – especially after the 60th minute.
Data from Opta also shows the Reign had a 56.6% pass completion rate in their final third. Simply put, the Reign looked a lot more organized and creative on Friday evening, but they struggled with the same finishing issues and final-third precision that has plagued them this year. Their crosses were a little too deep, or they just missed an opportunity to put their shots on frame.
With a quick turnaround from their match the prior Sunday – which included playing with 10 for a full half – some of the dropoff in passing precision is expected. But the Reign still need to strike when they have momentum, something they weren't able to do in the first half.
“We played some really good football at times," head coach Laura Harvey said after the match before noting the team needed "just a little bit of quality in the final third, which has been a broken record all year for me."
According to Wyscout, 43% of the Spirit's attack came down their right side of the field. That means left back Phoebe McClernon had a difficult task – to keep Trinity Rodman away from the goal.
"We had some big asks of some players," Harvey said after the game. "Phoebe (McClernon) having a very specific job to get a hold of Trinity (Rodman), and I thought she was exhausted at the end of it, but I thought she kept Trinity pretty quiet until the end."
Harvey was right. McClernon – who worked her way into a starting role after strong performances in the last month – had a tough task, but she limited Rodman's chances until the final minutes. Olivia Van der Jagt was often the one providing cover behind McClernon as well. McClernon finished the night with a match-high six tackles, along with one interception and four recoveries. On the other end, Rodman was dispossessed a match-high six times.
While the Reign couldn't get three points against the Spirit, they are still in a decent position heading into their final regular-season match. Most importantly, they control their own destiny. The Reign closed the weekend in sixth place, the final playoff spot. If they beat the Chicago Red Stars next week, they are in the playoffs – simple as that. That match kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 2 PM PT – the same time as every other NWSL game – and will air on Paramount+.