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Reign Drop Third Straight in Fast-Paced Duel with Bay FC

The clubs traded own goals in a frenetic match.

Last Updated
3 min read
Ji So-Yun and Bethany Balcer of Seattle Reign celebrate Balcer scoring a goal against Bay FC in April 2024.
© Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Reign closed out a three-game road trip in San Jose with a loss in their first match against Bay FC.

Both teams were off to the races early, trading chances on breakaways. Bay decisively controlled possession and chances for much of the first half, but Seattle took the lead in the 27th minute when a Lily Woodham cross was tapped in for an own goal by Bay FC defender Kayla Sharples. Sharples got her revenge in the 48th minute, equalizing off a corner kick. Bay pulled ahead 10 minutes later when Alex Loera capitalized off a poor clearance to make it 2-1. Seattle drew back level in the 83rd minute after Emeri Adames entered the game and instantly dished a touch to Ji that led to a Bethany Balcer goal. But the joy was short-lived, as a defensive breakdown 5 minutes later sealed the win for the Bay. 

WHAT WORKED: Kicking the Sh*t Out of It 

Seattle's best chances, including the own goal, were the product of long crosses into the box by the likes of Woodham, Huerta, and Ji.

The Reign struggled early with even getting the ball into the final third. Long balls and quick transition play helped the Reign settle into a rhythm and create opportunities to disrupt Bay’s steady backline.

WHAT WORKED: Tight Defense

Though they've played just four games in club history, Bay FC have already developed a signature style with their speed and spread-out play. How do you stop a team with highly skilled and speedy attackers like Asisat Oshoala and Racheal Kundananji? In the first half, the Reign found success by confidently stepping to the offense and shutting down plays before they could develop. Bay's offense builds and spreads like a wildfire, but Seattle's defense was able to smother the flames for the first 45.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK: Letting the Other Team Kick the Sh*t Out of It

Seattle's "bend but not break" defensive strategy that carried them through the first half was pulled apart in the second. Bay FC organized their offense and put the ball in the back of the net, punishing the Reign for giving up a corner and a poor clearance.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK: The Invisible Fence Around the Box

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but this team has some trouble creating and scoring goals. Four games in, own goal is tied with Ji So-Yun for second-most goals on the season. Only one of the Reign's top five scorers from last year has scored so far this season (Balcer). Seattle had eight shots, three of which were on goal. In comparison, Bay had 23, seven of which were on target.

Bethany Balcer said postgame, "It’s been two weeks since we played together, so it’s a little rusty to start." Laura Harvey echoed the sentiment: "A critical training together is going to be vital, we haven't been able to do that a lot lately." Hopefully the team is able to build some chemistry and momentum moving forward.

“I thought today we got played through too easily."

Head coach Laura Harvey shared her thoughts on the three-game skid, stating that she noticed different problems from each loss.

"We gave [Bay FC] too much opportunity today to get momentum on us, I thought. When we got really good momentum, we couldn’t keep that going when it became a defending moment."

"We’re just having trouble getting points on the road right now and that’s frustrating."

Balcer, who scored the Reign's second goal, shared her disappointment with the loss, but also a message of hope.

"If I know anything about this group, it's that we're resilient and so we're definitely excited to get back home and play in front of our fans again and have a little bit of an advantage there."

Emeri Adames agreed: "Yeah... it's definitely hard for me to see my teammates give everything and it still not come with the result, but just knowing us, we're gonna bounce back. We'll be fine."

The Reign return home to face the Chicago Red Stars at Lumen Field on April 21st. The Red Stars handed the Reign their first loss of the season back on March 23rd in Chicago.