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Three Stats: Seattle Reign vs. Chicago Red Stars

Examining the Reign's 2-1 road loss.

Last Updated
4 min read
© Melissa Tamez-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, March 23, Seattle Reign began a three-game road trip with a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Red Stars. Ji So-yun scored the lone goal for the Reign, who moved to 1-1-0 and sit in fifth place after two games.

The Red Stars joined the Kansas City Current as the only two teams in the NWSL to win their first two matches of the season (Gotham could become the third if they win their next match).

Here are three stats from the Reign's road loss to Chicago.


I don't know what it is about Bridgeview/Chicago, but it might be the most difficult place for the Reign to get road results after North Carolina. With the loss on Saturday, the Reign moved to 3-9-2 all-time on the road against the Red Stars.

Nine losses in 14 matches.

Is it the wind? The weather that either feels freezing or too muggy and hot? Unfavorable scheduling? Perhaps.

Maybe it's also in the Reign's head, as the team never quite looks themselves at SeatGeek Stadium – unless the season is on the line apparently. Playing Chicago on the road to close out the 2023 regular season, with a spot in the playoffs on the line, the Reign earned a decisive win. How can they bring that level of precision to every road match against Chicago? Well, they won't have to answer that question for another year – unless the team faces the Red Stars in the postseason.


Across two matches, the Reign have attempted a league-leading 170 long passes, which are defined as passes longer than 30 yards (per FBref). Unfortunately, the Reign have completed a league-worst 39.4% of those passes. That means that while the Reign did well to get into their final third and keep possession, they could have been even more dangerous if they were a little more precise in their long passes.

They were slightly better against Chicago than they were against the Spirit (41.7% vs. 37.2%) – but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

It should be said that the Reign's use of long passes is not a new phenomenon. It doesn't mean they are just booting the ball up the field and hoping for the best. Instead, they've used these passes to switch the field and stretch defenses, with one player often checking to the ball and leaving space behind them. In fact, the Reign completed the most long balls in 2023 and the second most in 2022, but they had a much better 49% and 52% completion rate across those two seasons.

We are only two matches into the season, so there's plenty of time for this to improve. More time in training to build partnerships will certainly help, and going up against two teams that sat deeper defensively also likely contributed to the early struggles. Having Alana Cook, one of the best long passers in the league, healthy again will also be a bonus.


According to Opta, the Reign were only able to complete 2 of their 30 crosses. And zero crosses connected with a player inside the penalty box.

At the team's midweek training session, Sofia Huerta and Lily Woodham both whipped in several pinpoint crosses. Based on that practice, the Reign seemed poised to get several great looks from the wing. Unfortunately, the Red Stars got numbers in the box, and the crosses just weren't as strong as they needed to be. Huerta went 0/10 while Woodham completed 1/6 crosses.

It wasn't just the delivery that was a problem, either. In one instance where Huerta put a cross exactly where you wanted, nobody was at the back post.

Bethany Balcer had made the near-post run to pull a defender, but nobody took that space behind her. Hopefully, some of these runs and precision can be improved as the team works out the kinks of their new formation. And the team was getting increasingly desperate after going down in the first half, something that can hopefully be avoided in the future.

Up next for the Reign is a road trip to San Diego. The team kicks off against the Wave on Friday, March 29, at 7 PM PT. That match will stream on Prime Video.