Under the backdrop of a heat dome smothering the Pacific Northwest, OL Reign finished off their spell of three matches in a week by hosting NJ/NY Gotham FC. Much like their previous encounter at the start of the month, Gotham took the full three points, defeating OL Reign, 0-3. Goals by Ifeoma Onumonu, Midge Purce, and Domi Richardson capped a performance where Gotham were the better side and simply beat OL Reign.
WHAT WORKED: THE TEAM’S FITS
This match was OL Reign’s annual Pride match, and before the game even happened, the players did not disappoint with their fits. I’ll leave it to my colleague Tim Foss to elaborate in his next Match Fitness column, but here’s a tease.
WHAT WORKED: PRIDE JERSEYS SELL OUT
As part of the festivities, the numbers on OL Reign kits were adorned with colors of Pride. At halftime, all 20 kits worn and signed by OL Reign players were made available for sale, with proceeds going to Rainbow Center in Tacoma. In about eight minutes, every single jersey was purchased, and in conjunction with a donation from event sponsor Starbucks, nearly $9,500 was raised for Rainbow Center.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: EVERYTHING ELSE
Simply put OL Reign got beat today. They sure fielded an all-star level starting XI, but it only existed on paper. While there were flashes of razzle-dazzle from the attacking side, like Eugénie Le Sommer getting her first OL Reign/NWSL start, and there were once again chances created, that song appears to be on Repeat 1, and the team just isn’t finishing those chances. Every team strives to have that play where they’re stringing together a chain of passes leading to a back-of-the-net finish like it’s a symphony, but sometimes you just need to have a dirty, ugly goal to make everything else work. OL Reign’s attacking corps has the resumé, but they may very well just need to discover something in the junkyard to become that diamond. The 3,007 fans in attendance at Cheney Stadium definitely can appreciate individual moments of flair and just the general fact that there are some world class players suiting up for OL Reign, but they also want to see goals. We know the individual talents are there to make the goals a reality, but they have to start proving it to us.
For all of the frustration of OL Reign’s inability to find the back of the net, there is still deserved credit to give to Gotham goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. She made the stops she needed to, including this point-blank chance from Le Sommer.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: CONCEDING A GOAL LIKE THIS
Only Sarah Bouhaddi can explain why she was so high up field and nowhere near her goal, but the awareness by Midge Purce to see it and send the perfect through ball to Ifeoma Onumonu to capitalize on the open goal was, well... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Gotham’s two other goals were just chances finished, and to lament on the defensive blunders by OL Reign is to discredit Gotham’s finishing, which was on point today.
Midge Purce’s goal in the 60th minute, with former Reign player Nahomi Kawasumi on the assist:
Domi Richardson’s goal in the 85th minute:
“I’m positive about the future.” - Eugénie Le Sommer
Madison Hammond and Eugénie Le Sommer each talked about the missed chances and defensive mishaps that they know they must clean up. Hammond did not skirt away in owning the defensive lapses that resulted in three Gotham goals. For Le Sommer, who made her first start, she knows there’s a lot more about the NWSL she needs to learn, along with more training sessions with the team. Today’s loss was frustrating and the players know it, but Le Sommer said that one thing she already knows about the league is you need EVERYONE on the squad performing at a high level in order to succeed.
OL Reign’s next chance to rebound after today’s loss comes on the road. They travel to Houston and face the Houston Dash on Friday, July 2. Kickoff is scheduled for a 5:30 PM PT and it will be broadcast on Paramount+ for US viewers, Twitch for international viewers.