We gained plenty of great memories from the 2021 OL Reign season, but one specific event rose to the top for voters in our OL Reign moment of the year survey. We received more than 250 votes, and nearly 51% of you chose OL Reign’s 2-1 Cascadia win and record-setting crowd at Lumen Field for the Reign-Sounders doubleheader.
The official attendance for OL Reign’s first match at Lumen Field, part of an event dubbed the PNW Experience, was announced as 27,248, roughly 2,000 more than the previous league record which had been set by the Portland Thorns. That was the number of tickets that were scanned by the 80th minute of the match. On top of the brilliant tifo display and the largest crowd — by far — in the club’s history, the Reign downed their rivals in a thrilling match.
Megan Rapinoe scored the team’s two goals. Alana Cook showed why she’s the future at centerback for the USWNT. Sofia Huerta was brilliant in her first game for the Reign as a right back. Quinn held it down in the midfield. The Reign gave the record-setting crowd a game for the ages.
In even better news, this won’t be a one-and-done deal. OL Reign recently announced Lumen Field as their new permanent home, starting in 2022. While another doubleheader might not happen in the immediate future, OL Reign will have a chance to break their single-season attendance record if ticket sales go well.
The rest of your moment of the year votes were a bit more spread out:
- Coming in second place in the vote was the Lyon trio’s addition to the squad, earning 9.3% of your votes. Eugénie Le Sommer was named to the NWSL Best XI after proving why she’s France and OL’s leading goal-scorer. Dzsenifer Marozsan was a key playmaker in the midfield. And goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi showed a lot of growth in the ever-so-transitional NWSL. They showed what’s possible with the Lyon-Reign connection and gave us one of the most entertaining seasons in the Reign’s history.
- Laura Harvey’s return as OL Reign head coach got 8.5% of the votes. After departing ahead of the 2018 season, Harvey came back to the club this year and — alongside Sam Laity — helped turn the season around. She showed her growth from her first coaching stint as well, making key adjustments like moving Huerta to right back that gave the Reign the best record in the league for the second half of the season.
- Jess Fishlock finally getting the recognition she deserves — by being named NWSL MVP — was another fond memory for voters. Her MVP award received 8.1% of your votes. The Welsh Dragon had one of her best offensive years while still contributing on the defensive end. And she provided her trademark Fishlock grit all season.
- Quinn winning Olympic Gold (4.4%), Rose Lavelle joining the Reign (3.6%), Bethany Balcer and Sofia Huerta getting USWNT caps (3.6%), and Reign players joining others in the league in protesting systemic abuse (2.8%) were also among your most memorable moments of the year.
- We also had write-in votes for OL Reign scoring 5 in the first half against Houston and Jess Fishlock’s goal-line clearance against the Washington Spirit in the Reign’s final home regular-season match.
While 2021 had plenty of great moments, the Reign still have unfinished business to accomplish (hello, elusive NWSL championship). Here’s to hopefully achieving that and even more memories in 2022.