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Three Stats: Seattle Reign vs. Gotham FC

The Reign earned their first road point of the season.

Last Updated
5 min read
© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Reign traveled across the country last weekend hoping to earn their first points on the road all season. They accomplished that goal on a hot, muggy afternoon – coming from behind in the last minute to draw 1-1 with Gotham FC at Red Bull Arena.

Former Reign player Rose Lavelle opened the scoring for Gotham early in the second half. The Reign held on and forced an own goal on the last play of the game, leveling the score in the 99th minute.

Here are three stats from the Reign's road draw.


The Reign played some of the best defense they have all season in the first half. From the frontline to the backline, they made it really difficult for Gotham to build in the way that they wanted. Gotham likes to build out of the back, and they often look for their holding midfielder in key spaces or try to get the ball to their fullbacks out wide to make the field big.

The Reign opted not to press Gotham's centerbacks. Instead, they focused on cutting off their passing lanes. When the ball went wide to their fullbacks, the Reign were quick to step up and limit their options higher up the field.

One player in particular who struggled in the first half was left back Jenna Nighswonger. The defender averages 40 completed passes and 60 attempted passes per match. On Sunday, she completed just four passes in the first half (going 4/8).

To limit a player like Nighswonger, Jordyn Huitema and Tziarra King marked the space between the centerback and fullback, where Gotham's holding midfielder often drifts into. If Gotham was able to get the ball wide, both players closed down quickly or forced Gotham into a mistake. And every other Reign player nearby was stuck next to a Gotham player.

Gotham's centerbacks also spread out wide on goal kicks and when they are building from really deep. If King was pushing higher to try to pressure centerback Tierna Davidson, Sofia Huerta read those plays well and was able to step up to Nighswonger and close down quickly.

If a Gotham player was able to dribble out of pressure on the wing, the Reign tightly marked players in the midfield and picked off passes. Just look how quickly Jess Fishlock pops into frame to mark Delanie Sheehan in this clip.

The Reign's defensive shape and pressure clearly rattled Gotham, and they nearly gifted the Reign a goal on a couple of occasions. It's a bummer Ji So-yun couldn't take advantage of this one just before half.

As a result of all the work in the first half, the Reign held Gotham to just 0.28 expected goals over 45 minutes.

"We spent a lot more time more recently about each person's individual roles, but then also the collective role, and I think we've really hammered it home this past week on the team collective and doing it together. I think that really showed," defender Shae Holmes said after the match.

Imagine what could have happened if the Reign had converted one of their early chances ...


Gotham had seven corner kicks this match. If you read our preview, you'd know that Gotham creates the most dangerous chances in the league from set plays. They might have been nervy moments, but the Reign held strong during these opportunities – limiting Gotham to just one low-quality shot on a corner kick in the 38th minute, which went harmlessly out of bounds for a goal kick.

Heading into the match, the Reign had conceded six goals on set plays – including one in the final minute last weekend to gift Racing Louisville a point. It might be a small win, but to see the team remain organized against a Gotham side that is really good at getting players open on set pieces ... I'll certainly take that small victory every day.


While Tziarra King was a real threat in the first half, the team was unable to find her as much in the second. In really warm and really muggy conditions, the Reign needed a sub that could go into the match, win their duels, get up the field, and combine with tired teammates.

They got that in Veronica Latsko, who was a real spark for the Reign when she subbed into the match. Latsko led the Reign with three shot-creating actions. Her total was matched by Sofia Huerta, who also got more involved in the attack on Sunday – in large part thanks to her combination play with Latsko.

In the 71st minute, Latsko took on her defender and found Huerta at the top of the box, who unleashed a shot that looked destined for the upper left corner but pinged off both posts and away from the goal.

A give-and-go with Huerta led to a cross to Bethany Balcer in the box, which was just a little too high for the forward to convert.

Latsko also went 3/3 on dribbles and won four duels and one tackle. And while it won't go on the stat sheet, Latsko played a big role in the own goal that the Reign forced at the end of the game – rising up to challenge for Quinn's ball into the box.

"As you can probably tell, it is absolutely boiling here," head coach Laura Harvey said. "So for the group to push and keep pushing and keep pushing and get a little bit of luck at the end with that goal, but I felt we deserved a point at minimum from the game."

While they haven't picked up all the points they wanted, the Reign haven't lost in three straight games. Baby steps. Harvey said after the game that the new ownership group has been really present, which has given the team a big boost. They'll have a chance to show that in front of home fans this weekend. The Reign host the Utah Royals on Sunday, July 7. The game kicks off at 3 PM PT and will air on KONG TV and stream on NWSL+.