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Three Stats: Seattle Reign vs. NC Courage

Another look at the Reign's 1-0 road loss to the Courage.

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

Last weekend, Seattle Reign traveled across the country to take on the North Carolina Courage. Despite putting in one of their best performances at WakeMed Soccer Park, the Reign walked away with a 1-0 loss, which marked their fifth straight defeat.

The Reign are now 1-9-0 on the road against the Courage.

Here are three stats from that match.


As Olivia Van der Jagt noted after the match, the Reign press did some solid work on Saturday. According to Wyscout data, the Reign had 31 recoveries in their attacking third, their highest total all season by a fair distance. A recovery is defined as the spot on the field where one team gained its first possession of the ball after the other team lost possession – usually through a duel or interception.

Returning to a 4-4-2 diamond formation, the Reign forced the Courage wide or dared their centerbacks to pass into a clogged middle, where the Reign frequently closed down quickly and picked off passes.

This graphic from @NWSLStat shows how much higher the Reign's average defensive actions were compared to the Courage.

Five of the turnovers that the Reign forced ended in shots.

The Reign have now forced the second-most high turnovers in the league. Unfortunately, they haven't yet been able to capitalize on these opportunities – a common theme over the last two years. As the two examples above show, the Reign weren't able to create a shot instantly with some of their high recoveries. Their defensive shape is looking stronger, however.


Thirteen of the Reign's 17 shots came in the second half, as the team came out with renewed focus after the break and benefitted from Bethany Balcer subbing into the match in the 70th minute.

Playing with a new formation and introducing several new players in the midfield and higher up the field, the Reign have made early mistakes in matches this year that have led to them giving up goals or failing to gain early momentum. In addition to a few other good chances that the Reign gave up in the first half against North Carolina – again in transition – they lost the ball while out of position and allowed Tyler Lussi to score in the 37th minute.

The Reign have generally been able to correct problems in the second half and attempt a comeback, but early momentum can be a real game-changer. It's been one of the key reasons the team hasn't earned points in the last five weeks.


Olivia Van der Jagt subbed into the match in the 5th minute for an injured Quinn. As Jason Anderson noted at Pro Soccer Wire, this changed the dynamic of how the Reign built their attack in possession. Quinn's passing can open up the field in ways that other Reign midfielders can't.

One thing Van der Jagt added, however, was defensive grit.

Van der Jagt won 10 of 11 duels, the most in the match, and won two of three tackles. She added seven recoveries, two interceptions, and three clearances.

The Courage often pull their forward back into the midfield, essentially creating two No. 10s. On Saturday, Brianna Pinto and Ashley Sanchez played those two roles to start the game. Van der Jagt played a critical role in limiting these players from getting the ball and turning in dangerous spaces.

As a result of Van der Jagt and the rest of the team's pressure, the Courage completed the second-fewest progressive passes this season. They also completed the fewest long balls (21, compared to a previous low of 31) and the second-fewest passes into the final third and penalty box.

The Reign have another chance at home to break their losing streak as they host the San Diego Wave on Friday, May 3. The game kicks off at 7 PM PT and will stream on Prime Video.