QUICK RECAP: Reign FC hold on against the Utah Royals to win 2-1 thanks to goals from Bethany Balcer and Jodie Taylor. Bev Yanez was a menace in the middle of the field all night long, and the centerback duo of Lauren Barnes and Rebecca Quinn kept the match under control. Despite giving up an equalizing goal in the 67th minute, the Reign found a way to score another when it counted.
The team now sits in sole possession of 4th place. They face the Portland Thorns on Sunday at home, get a week off, then head to Orlando to close out the season. They could finish as high as 3rd if Portland loses their two matches. But right now, they’re just focused on continuing to get results that push them into the playoffs.
It’s the biggest match of the season for Reign FC, who face the Utah Royals at 7 PM PT on Wednesday evening. The match will stream on Yahoo! Sports (and ESPN for international viewers).
Reign FC and Utah are even on points, with the Royals currently having the advantage on tiebreakers. That means the Reign need to win to jump into fourth place — the final playoff spot — before they close out the season with their final two games.
The Reign control their own destiny, but the team is still working its way through injuries, and has struggled to convert chances in recent weeks. Megan Rapinoe isn’t likely to play, as she was busy winning FIFA Women’s Player of the Year on Monday in Milan. Bethany Balcer and Megan Oyster are questionable, while Allie Long is dealing with a hip injury picked up a few weeks ago.
Still, this is a talented squad that can get the better of Utah. Watch with us to see how the game shapes up. Playoffs or bust.
Absences: Injury, international duty and suspension
OUT: Taylor Smith (SEI - R Knee), Jasmyne Spencer (SEI - L Knee), Michelle Betos (SEI - R Achilles), Jaycie Johnson (SEI - R Knee), Scout Watson (SEI - Concussion), Jessica Fishlock (SEI - L Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Bethany Balcer (R groin), Megan Oyster (L knee)
OUT: Brittany Ratcliffe (SEI-Left Knee), Taylor Lytle (SEI-Left Foot), Becca Moros (Right Leg), Kelley O’Hara (Left Ankle), Mandy Laddish (Right Hip), Makenzy Doniak (Left Foot), Sydney Miramontez (Right Foot)
Keys to the Match
- Don’t turn off at the end of the match
- Finish your chances (please!)
- Stay compact on defense
Here is your Reign FC Starting XI for tonight's match against @UtahRoyalsFC! Kickoff at Cheney Stadium is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT#RFCvUTA #ShePlaysHere #BeBold pic.twitter.com/jpXN0ZRRKh— Reign FC (@ReignFC) September 26, 2019
LET’S GET IT pic.twitter.com/NfA0gZN6ZP— Utah Royals FC (@UtahRoyalsFC) September 26, 2019
40’ - Goal, Reign FC! What a ball by Jodie Taylor. Fantastic finish from Bethany Balcer.
.@ReignFC strikes first!— NWSL (@NWSL) September 26, 2019
Bethany Balcer finishes neatly to put the home side in front.
1-0 | #SEAvUTA pic.twitter.com/e4MQnBCBw9
67’ - Noooo. Katie Stengel equalizes.
Things are up!@ksteng12 levels the score for @UtahRoyalsFC.— NWSL (@NWSL) September 26, 2019
1-1 | #SEAvUTA pic.twitter.com/JG6J79CTne
73’ - World-class save from Nicole Barnhart. That was a great look for the Reign.
Majestic save by @nbarnhart.— NWSL (@NWSL) September 26, 2019
1-1 | #SEAvUTA pic.twitter.com/K1Gntz0MMg
86’ - Jodie Taylor goal!! Reign FC go up 2-1.
Jodie Taylor on the volley!— NWSL (@NWSL) September 26, 2019
2-1 | #SEAvUTA pic.twitter.com/AWhWGC7IvT
How to Watch
When: Wednesday, September 25, 7 PM PT
Where: Cheney Stadium, Tacoma
Live stream (for users in the U.S.): Yahoo! Sports
Live stream (for users outside the U.S.): Watch on ESPN (Check for local listings here, or follow the links listed here)
Join the Discussion
This is your Reign FC v. Utah Royals gamethread. Head to @rovalks on Twitter for real-time updates, or join the conversation in the comments below.