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Seattle Reign give up late goal, draw with Racing Louisville

Seattle Reign FC have another lapse in focus and squander away a win.

Last Updated
4 min read
Mike Russell / Sounder at Heart

Some people believe you make your own luck, and with the case of the Seattle Reign's 2024 season, it's been a whole lot of bad luck. This Sunday afternoon, with a red card issued to a Racing Louisville player in the 5th minute, perhaps luck was finally favoring the Reign. Bethany Balcer scored a penalty after the card, putting the Reign up early. And yet, in the closing minutes of the match, a simple moment of losing focus resulted in Reign squandering the full possible 3 points. They settled for a 1-1 draw against Racing Louisville FC.

A January offseason saw key departures for the Reign. While the Reign tried as they could to address those departures with what's clearly been a limbo status because of the pending sale of the club, this squad clearly intends to compete week in and week out but has been dictated by moments in which they switch off focus or get some inexplicable bad luck that's kept them second to last in the standings.


Before the match, forward Bethany Balcer was celebrated for reaching the 100 appearances milestone for the Reign, which she hit in the previous match against Portland Thorns FC. In case you don't know the story: Balcer joined the club in 2019 as an undrafted rookie, was nearly cut after the first day of training camp, but stayed on and busted ass to earn a spot on the team and continues to grow on and off the field as one of the faces of the club.

Congratulations on 100 appearances Bethany, and here's to the next 100 appearances for the Reign!


In a season to date in which seemingly every bad break falls on Seattle, for once something good was allowed to happen to them. In the 6th minute, Seattle were awarded a penalty after Louisville defender Arin Wright dragged Jordyn Huitema down in the box. VAR review upgraded it to a denial of a goal-scoring opportunity straight red, and Bethany Balcer converted from the spot for her 5th goal on the season.

Balcer became the only player in the league to score five goals each season since 2019.


They had their chances to double, perhaps triple, their lead after the red card to Wright, but once again, they made themselves their worst opponent both in terms of not getting that second, third, whatever goal. For basically 100+ minutes, they had a player advantage and didn't punish the team, giving Louisville a chance. All a team needs is a chance, and Louisville made the most of it in the closing minutes of stoppage time because the Reign had another lapse in focus.

Week in and week out when we've asked the players in their post-match press conferences about these lapses costing them points, they are saying what you'd expect any professional athlete would in terms of trying to hold themselves and each other accountable. The reality is they're likely just as dumbfounded and mystified as Reign FC fans are as to how and why this keeps happening. Maybe that's just how this season is going to play out for them, and they're not going to ever figure out how or why they're having these lapses for even a split-second.

"I'm gonna repeat myself, not enough quality. That's it."

Seattle Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey kept her opening remarks after the match short and sweet. Later in her press conference, when asked if addressing the lack of quality could come in the upcoming summer transfer window, Harvey confirmed that the club would be active. Forward Nérilia Mondésir is already reported to be joining the club, but Harvey's direct answer suggests that there will be other moves to address the deficiencies they couldn't back in January.

Harvey was also asked if what the team works on at training doesn't carry over into executing at games, not just specifically today, but as the recurring theme of the season so far.

"It's a little bit of that. I think it's also understanding what going down to 10 players for the opponent means. How you have to move the ball, you have to keep moving it, I think we get into a mentality where we feel we have to score like immediately, so we lose structure. Our structure around the ball, behind the ball at times today wasn't good enough, which gave them opportunities to get the ball up the field and I think that comes from [an] eagerness to want to score quickly. If we find the right moments, we found times to get the ball in the places we needed to, and we just didn't have the quality in those moments. I felt it was times where we tried to force it down their neck - you don't need to do that in any game, you definitely don't need to that when the other team is down a player."

The draw keeps Seattle where they've been for a while, second to last in the NWSL standings with just 9 points through 14 matches. Utah Royals FC are only behind Seattle by 2 points. Seattle Reign head out to the east coast for their next match, as they visit Red Bull Arena to take on reigning NWSL Champions Gotham FC. That match will be broadcast on ESPN2/ESPN+ with a 10 AM PT kickoff.