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Injured, Disoriented Reign Fall 1-0 At North Carolina

The Reign's snakebitten streak continues with another one-goal loss.

Last Updated
4 min read
© Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

It started ignobly, as the Seattle Reign lost Quinn, an essential piece only just coming back from injury, to a new ugly-looking knee injury in only the 5th minute. It continued in infuriatingly familiar fashion as the Reign played a just-fine road game for 30-plus minutes, limiting North Carolina's chances and growing into their press before surrendering a goal with Sofia Huerta out of position and another potential injury – to Quinn's replacement, Olivia van der Jagt – who was being attended to on the sideline when the Courage scored.

Though they made it to halftime down only 1-0, one could be forgiven for thinking the Reign were simply cursed by that point. The second half provided little to celebrate as the Courage effectively strangled the life out of the game, and match referee Gerald Flores bravely declined to pay any attention two separate body slams in the penalty area in stoppage time.

The Reign have now lost five in a row – the second longest losing streak in club history – all by the margin of a single goal, every one of those game-losing goals wholly and entirely preventable. Tune in next week as we find a new way to lose matches the exact same way.


I'm just here so I don't get fined.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK: Getting Healthy

Quinn, whose introduction turned the field last week and was essential for the Reign starting to find their way back in the game, had to leave in the fifth minute after a probably-not-malicious but worthy of a whistle at the least challenge bent their knee the wrong way. The Reign were forced to their bench and forced to shuffle their lineup early, once again looking at taking on an extended period without one of their most important players.

Later, their replacement, Olivia van der Jagt, took a hard (and also unwhistled) challenge, was down for an extended period receiving treatment, and then the Courage scored the opening goal as the referee pointedly refused to allow a fortunately shaken up but not seriously injured Olo back onto the pitch until Ashley Sanchez was already in the penalty area delivering a cross.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK: Defensive Continuity

Once again, the Reign had a shuffled (and then hastily reshuffled, as Quinn's injury almost immediately forced) defensive corps. Once again, the Reign surrendered a preventable goal while their shape was a mess, this time with Sofia Huerta out of position and the middle of the pitch soft as the referee inexplicably held Olo off at the sideline for an almost cartoonishly extended period of time.

(And in case you were wondering, the ref did not refuse to allow Ashley Sanchez quickly back onto the pitch when the situations were reversed in the second half.)

We can't stay healthy, we can't get out a consistent lineup, and we can't stop getting hammered, again and again and again, with the miscues that come from that lack of continuity.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK: Slip 'n Slide Soccer

Supposedly that pitch in Cary, North Carolina has excellent drainage, but you'd have hardly known it with how players were losing their footing up and down the pitch. The conditions were, shall we say, less than ideal. Sometimes they even seemed outright dangerous. And while it affected both teams at various points – including a scary moment for Ashley Sanchez early in the second frame – the tractionless condition of the pitch certainly seemed to disconcert the Reign more.

"Great teams get back up and they excel."

Despite yet another tough, frustrating loss, Tziarra King and Olivia van der Jagt remained sanguine about the team going forward. Said Zee, "We're, we're still at the beginning of the season. We just gotta keep putting our heads down and digging through this rough patch and once we get the product out there that we want, we will be a force. So we just gotta get there."

Olo added an observation one of the training facility security guards mentioned to her after their last game. "I can't remember word for word, but it was like 'good teams get knocked down and come back up, but great teams get back up and they excel,' and honestly, I think we're a great team and I think that's exactly what we're gonna do."

"I'll let you lot decide that."

Often frustrated by officiating decisions (and non-decisions), Laura Harvey had plenty of reason to be frustrated by tonight's match, but expressed more resignation than anything: "We had to do better on their goal, but it doesn't help when your player's on the side of the field for 30 seconds when she could have been let back on. So bit frustrated with that one."

Asked about later (non)-calls, particularly an apparent foul in the box that saw Bethany Balcer down for an extended period in stoppage time, she simply stated, "I'll let you lot decide that," adding that there had "not really" been any communication from VAR, either.

The Reign are back in action on Friday, May 3rd for their home rematch against San Diego Wave. The match is scheduled for a 7 PM PT kickoff. Come see the Reign find a new way to lose the exact same way in person, or watch the match on Prime Video.