It’s OL Reign matchday! The Reign head on the road for their first regular-season match of 2022, taking on the Washington Spirit at Audi Field. The game kicks off at 2 PM PT and will stream on Paramount+ for fans in the U.S. and Twitch for international viewers.
Today marks the start of a busy week for both clubs. After facing off this weekend, the Spirit and Reign meet again on Wednesday for the Challenge Cup semifinals. Depending on the outcome of that match, each team will either be playing their second regular-season match the following weekend or playing in the Challenge Cup final. That complicated math is for another day, however. Today is all about the regular-season opener.
The Spirit went 2-0-4 in the Challenge Cup group stage, scoring 12 goals while allowing 7. The Reign, on the other hand, were 4-0-2 and scored 11 while allowing 5. The regular season is a different animal, though, and it’s essentially a blank slate for all teams.
Washington is a dominant offensive team, with Ashley Hatch scoring five goals in Challenge Cup group stage play and Trinity Rodman notching four. The creative play flows through Ashley Sanchez, who is on fire at the moment.
The Spirit won the 2021 NWSL championship match, advancing to the final after defeating the Reign in the semifinals in heartbreaking fashion. The D.C. club returned much of their starters in 2022 and boasts a young and talented attacking line. In a week that sees the two sides match up twice, OL Reign are going to have to put in a complete performance to beat the Spirit and utilize their depth.
What to Watch
- Limit Ashley Sanchez’s chances
- Creative in the attack
- Take care of the ball at all times
Injury / Availability Report
OUT: Zsanett Kajan (COVID protocol), Megan Rapinoe (right calf), Olivia Van der Jagt (COVID protocol)
OUT: Averie Collins (knee), Tori Huster (SEI - left lower leg), Alia Martin (ankle), Tara McKeown (calf), Gaby Vincent (calf)
QUESTIONABLE: Jordan Baggett (calf), Kelley O’Hara (hamstring), Andi Sullivan (calf)
Jimena Lopez, Phoebe McClernon, and Nikki Stanton step into the starting XI for the Reign.
A mix of starters and some rotational players in the lineup for the Spirit. Their terrorizing front 4 of Heilferty, Hatch, Rodman, and Sanchez all start.
The fam is back for another historic season! LFG! pic.twitter.com/F3IfDzgaqE— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) May 1, 2022
9’ - Reign earn a penalty thanks to some nice play by Jess Fishlock and Ally Watt, but Rose Lavelle’s attempt is easily saved by Aubrey Kingsbury.
14’ - Darn. The Spirit with some quick passing after winning the ball in the midfield, and Ashley Sanchez buries her chance. 1-0 Spirit.
32’ - Big save from Phallon Tullis-Joyce to keep this match close.
34’ - And another big save from Phallon!
53’ - Reign get the equalizer! Great work from Bethany Balcer, Ally Watt, and then Rose Lavelle to draw it level.
66’ - Darn. Ashley Hatch puts the Spirit up 2-1.
AND THAT IS HOW YOU START OFF THE SEASON!! pic.twitter.com/6gjpms8bxk— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) May 1, 2022
How to Watch
Date/Time: Sunday, May 1, 2 PM PT
Location: Audi Field, Washington, D.C.
Streaming (US/Canada): Paramount+
Streaming (International): Twitch (search NWSLOfficial)
Join the Discussion
This is your OL Reign versus Washington Spirit gamethread. Join the discussion here in the comments, or follow the action on Twitter: @rovalks.