It’s a huge match for the Reign. Last night, Houston Dash defeated the Utah Royals, which means that Reign FC could leapfrog Utah into 4th place with a win today. Both Chicago and Portland — 2nd and 3rd, respectively — have played two more matches than the Reign. The Tacoma-based club could eventually jump both if they keep scoring and winning.
Reign FC will have Megan Rapinoe again available for the match, although she will likely start on the bench to keep working her way back to full fitness. They are facing a young, disciplined Washington Spirit side that likes to dictate possession and find gaps of space to exploit.
While the Reign will be without stalwart centerback Lauren Barnes, if they can stay organized defensively, they should be able to temper the Spirit attack. They’ll need to finish their chances on the other end to walk away with three points.
Absences: Injury, international duty and suspension
OUT: Jasmyne Spencer (SEI - left knee), Taylor Smith (SEI - Right Knee), Michelle Betos (SEI - Right Achilles), Jaycie Johnson (SEI - Right Knee), Scout Watson (SEI - Concussion), Jessica Fishlock (SEI - Left Knee), Lydia Williams (45D - Left Ankle), Shea Groom (Rib)
SUSPENSION: Lauren Barnes (Yellow card accumulation)
OUT: Mallory Eubanks (MAT), Tegan McGrady (Left Thigh), Rose Lavelle (General Head), Dorian Bailey (Left Ankle)
Keys to the Match
- Pressure the Spirit’s defense into mistakes
- Manage the tempo in the midfield
- Score early
30’ - Against the run of play, the Spirit get on the scoreboard first with this ridiculos Ashley Hatch header.
35’ - Bethany Balcer equalizes for Reign FC!
61’ - Great work by Casey Murphy to keep it even!
82’ - Megan Rapinoe with a solid shout for a penalty here, but the ref doesn’t call it.
90’ - Chloe Logarzo puts the Spirit ahead.
90 + 2’ - Iffy Onumonu equalizes!!
FINAL: A last-minute Onumonu equalizer gives the Reign a point on the road against the Spirit. The draw puts them level on points with the Utah Royals, who Reign FC will face on Wednesday in another must-win match.
How to Watch
When: Saturday, September 14, 4:30 PM PT
Where: Audi Field, Washington, DC
Live stream (for users in the U.S.): Yahoo! Sports
Join the Discussion
This is your Reign FC v. Washington Spirit gamethread. Head to @rovalks on Twitter for real-time updates, or join the conversation in the comments below.