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Match Preview: Seattle Reign vs. Racing Louisville

The Reign are hoping for a strong performance in their annual Pride Match at Lumen Field.

Last Updated
6 min read
© Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Reign is back at home this weekend to take on Racing Louisville and host their annual Pride Match. The match kicks off Sunday, June 23, at 3 PM PT at Lumen Field. It will air on KONG TV locally and stream on several free platforms: KING5+, NWSL+, and CBS Sports Golazo.

At the halfway point in the regular season, Racing Louisville sits in the 8th and final playoff spot, but the team has lost back-to-back matches. The Reign, on the heels of finally completing their sale, are desperate for some momentum to try to move up the table.

Reign head coach Laura Harvey will be lining up against two players that she used to coach. Former Reign player Bev Yanez is now Racing's head coach and Carmelina Moscato is an assistant coach. While Harvey is thrilled to see former players step into coaching roles and pave the way, she also knows it will be "all business until the final whistle."

Recent Results

The Reign played to a scoreless draw against Portland last Sunday, snapping a four-game losing streak. Racing Louisville lost 2-0 at home against Gotham FC last weekend and fell 3-2 in a midweek match on the road against Angel City.


This is the first matchup between the two teams in 2024. The Reign are 1-1-5 against Racing Louisville.

Quick Stats

  • Racing Louisville (3-4-6) has scored 19 goals and conceded 17.
  • Seattle Reign (2-9-2) has scored 13 goals and conceded 25.
  • The Reign are 2-2-2 at home this season. Louisville is 1-2-4 on the road.
  • Midfielder Savannah DeMelo has five goals and one assist for Louisville.

What to Watch

Quick to get into the attack

Like the Kansas City Current, Racing Louisville can be a threat in transition and move the ball quickly forward into the penalty box. According to Opta, Louisville has the fastest "direct speed" in the league, meaning they progress the ball upfield faster than any other team. They are second to just the Current in "direct attacks," which are attacks that have at least 50% of movement toward the goal and end in a shot or touch in the box.

A key part of their transition game is Louisville's disruption in the midfield. They lead the league in tackles, interceptions, and fouls committed. While it's a team mindset, two players are key to this disruptive approach: Taylor Flint and Savannah DeMelo.

The 6' 1" Flint leads the league by a pretty long distance in interceptions, aerials won, and tackles won. She is also third in blocks and possession recoveries among field players. Playing a bit deeper in the midfield than she did in San Diego, Flint wins the ball in dangerous spots and immediately looks to play vertical passes, which allows her teammates to push into the attack.

DeMelo is also a disruptor, in addition to being goal-dangerous. She can beat players on the dribble and has a great instinct in the box — scoring two of her five goals this year off rebounds. She started and finished this goal against Houston.

Flint, DeMelo, and teammate Kayla Fischer also lead the league in fouls committed. They love to apply pressure, even if it doesn't always result in a turnover. As Reign midfielder Quinn said in a press conference before the match, the Reign midfield is going to have to be tightly linked with the backline.

"I think for us, it's making sure that we're nullifying their transition. They're a team that can transition quite well. So, I think it's really important for the holding midfield role to be able to nullify their threat and making sure that we're connected with our backline to make sure that we're maintaining our numbers and trying to keep them locked out so they can't exploit us on that transitional piece."

Playing against a transitional team isn't new for the Reign this year. After several years that saw the teams that played a possession-style approach at the top of the table, the transitional teams are finding success this year. Harvey thinks it's more important than ever for her team to focus on themselves and what they control.

"We've faced [transitional teams] in multiple games, and we've always felt that when we do the things that we know we can do and we limit the mistakes or opportunities that we give to them easily, we manage the game pretty well. So, it's been a lot of focus on us, I would say."

Racing uses their width

Racing Louisville starts a consistent backline that includes Carson Pickett at left back and Lauren Milliet at right back. Pickett and Milliet both love to get into the attack, although Pickett often gets higher and wider while Milliet combines with Racing's wide attacking player on the right. Lately, that right wing player has been Emma Sears, a speedy rookie who likes to take on defenders to shoot or cross.

Heading into this weekend, Sears had created the same number of chances by carrying the ball as Orlando's Barbra Banda — and just two fewer than Mallory Swanson. The rookie has three goals and one assist. Phoebe McClernon may return to left back to deal with Sears, who subbed into Racing's midweek match at halftime, which means she's more rested than some of her teammates.

On the left wing, Pickett leads the team in key passes and has the most passes into the final third per game. She's got a lethal left foot, which includes dangerous set-piece deliveries. Whoever starts at right back and right wing will need to close down quickly on Pickett to prevent these crosses as much as possible.

While Racing gets a lot of numbers into the attack, that does mean that the Reign can strike when Louisville may be out of position. Seattle doesn't have many transitional threats, but they know how to drive an attack forward when there is space and found some success last week looking for Jordyn Huitema in behind.

The Reign are more rested

Louisville had a tough match last weekend against Gotham and another battle on the road against Angel City on Wednesday. The Reign haven't played since Sunday, and both matches are at home. Travel hasn't disrupted their training schedule. Can the Reign make Racing chase the ball from kickoff and set the tone early? Can they wear down a likely tired Racing squad? If they can, they should find some success.

Injury / Availability Report

Seattle Reign

OUT: None

Racing Louisville

OUT: Ary Borges (knee), Jordyn Bloomer (ankle), Elli Pikkujämsä (SEI – knee), Olivia Sekany (D45 – knee), Kirsten Wright (D45 - knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Uchenna Kanu (knee)

How to Watch

Seattle Reign hosts Racing Louisville on Sunday, June 23, at 3 PM PT. The match will air on KONG-TV locally and will stream on NWSL+ and the KING5+ app.

Note: If you are heading to the game, give yourself plenty of time. Light rail stations are closed between Capitol Hill and Sodo stations and there are some lane restrictions on I-5.