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Reign searching for points to close out road trip

As the FIFA international window concludes, the Reign prepare for their first match against expansion club Bay FC.

Last Updated
3 min read
Mike Russell / Sounder at Heart

TUWKILA – Being tough to break down defensively has been a trademark of the Seattle Reign under Laura Harvey. In reflecting on their last two matches, the team feels like they got away from this principle at inopportune times against the Wave and Red Stars.

Unfortunately, they were punished and walked away from those games with zero points and now have a 1-2-0 record to start 2024. After training on Tuesday, Harvey said that the team has reinforced this principle heading into the final match of their three-game road trip.

"The last two games we've given up goals that we don't normally give up. We don't tend to concede a lot of goals on crosses, and all the goals we've conceded so far have been through crosses. That's something that, as a collective, we've spoken about, trying to get back to what we are and what we know."

Harvey felt the team's defense against the Wave was really strong for "about 79 minutes," but everyone was disappointed to concede so late in the game – and even more disappointed in the way they conceded. While nobody blamed it on their injuries and the illness that affected the squad ahead of the game, the team definitely ran out of steam toward the end.

The good news is that everyone has recovered. All the non-international players were in full training on Tuesday, including Quinn, Veronica Latsko, and Sam Meza, who all missed the Wave game due to injury and/or illness.

"I think we're as close to full health – touch wood with the internationals coming back – than we've been all year, so that's a bonus," Harvey said. "It makes my job a little bit harder going into Sunday's game."

It appears that the Reign's six international players – Jess Fishlock, Angharad James, Lily Woodham, Ji So-yun, Emeri Adames, and Jordyn Huitema – should also be healthy and back in town on Wednesday. The one question mark is Huitema, who left Canada's SheBelieves Cup match against the U.S. early with what looked to be hip discomfort.

Sunday's game will be against expansion club Bay FC, which also has a 1-2-0 record to start their inaugural season. Boasting impressive attacking talent – including former Barcelona player Asisat Oshoala, former Manchester City midfielder Deyna Castellanos, and Zambian forward Racheal Kundananji – Bay FC has scored four goals in three games and will present a good challenge for the Reign's defense.

"They play very expansive. They try and move the ball around. They have threats going forward in different areas," Harvey said. She noted that Bay FC will be motivated for a better result in front of their home fans after a last-minute 3-2 loss in their home opener last match. Despite the disappointing result, Bay FC drew 18,000 fans, a sellout, for their first match at PayPal Park.

"Losing the way they did in their home opener, they're going to want to put that right. But we're hoping for a great atmosphere and looking forward to it."

With a home match just around the corner, the Reign are focused on getting much-needed road points. They felt like they should have walked away from Chicago with at least a point, and could have had the same result if they held firm in San Diego. Harvey's message to the team is now simple: let's get some points.

"The biggest message honestly has always been, and it stays all the time in this league, is get points. And it doesn't change this weekend. If you come away with three points against Bay and you've had three games on the road, it's not too bad. I think if you come away with one point, you'll still be really disappointed that you've given up the other points in the other games. And if you come away with zero, you'll be really disappointed. But we know our home games are huge for us, so we're looking forward to that."