While some teams in the NWSL carried on with their regular season matches, OL Reign took a detour this week to compete in this year’s edition of The Women’s Cup competition held in Louisville, Kentucky.
After pulling off a comeback victory on Wednesday over Mexican side Club América in their semifinal, OL Reign met their NWSL counterparts in the final, the competition host Racing Louisville, who were also defending champions of the tournament. After conceding first in the first half, OL Reign had another comeback in them and scored two goals in the second half to become the 2022 Women’s Cup Champions.
Olivia Athens (59th minute) and Jordyn Huitema (66th minute) scored the goals for OL Reign and Tziarra King won the competition’s Most Valuable Player honors with her goal in Wednesday’s semifinal and her corner kick assist on Athens’ goal.
WHAT WORKED: OLIVA ATHENS GOAL
Smart substitutions by Laura Harvey led to an equalizer. King with an assist off of the corner kick and an emphatic header from Athens brought OL Reign level. Reign had enjoyed the better of the play for much of the first half, but could not convert their chances. This goal finally beat Katie Lund, who made a few great saves against the team in the first half.
Olivia Athens!— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) August 21, 2022
She comes off the bench to level it up. pic.twitter.com/MRUrbO4RmO
WHAT WORKED: JORDYN HUITEMA GOAL
In the midst of OL Reign’s goal-scoring renaissance, Jordyn Huitema had been the one player who was so close, but could not seem to buy a goal. With a lovely through ball from another sub, Jimena López, Huitema took a lovely first touch, then an extra touch before putting this one away with a classy finish.
Jordyn Huitema makes it 2-1! What a finish from the striker.— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) August 21, 2022
The ball from Jimena López though. pic.twitter.com/VFLS8rL5ok
WHAT WORKED: TZIARRA KING, WOMEN’S CUP MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
The growth of Tziarra King this season continues as she snagged the MVP honors for the Women’s Cup. It is a well-deserved trophy for Zee, who played well with a goal and an assist in this tournament.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: KIRSTEN DAVIS GOAL
OL Reign has a solid defense, but there are moments like this one that they will want back. Getting stripped of the ball in their defensive third, combined with the inability to clear the ball off of a fairly routine play, gave Racing Louisville the lead with this Kirsten Davis goal.
Kirsten Davis scores off of a half turn and it's a light show in Louisville! pic.twitter.com/VrtXXIKlY3— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) August 21, 2022
“We’re seeing the future of what this team could be.”
Laura Harvey said in her post-match press conference that getting to integrate some of the Reign’s young talent, and having them be core contributors, is her proudest moment from this tournament.
“You know this club’s been built on Pinoe, Jess, and Lu and I think for all of us, those included it’s trying to see what this might look like when they decide to hang their boots up, and that’s probably the most rewarding thing for me in this tournament. You see, in the future of what this could be moving forward and I thought on what day was it, Wednesday they showed that and then I thought tonight, they came out and showed that in the second half, and and that’s probably the most rewarding thing of it all is we have quality everywhere.
Marley’s [Canales] delivery of set pieces, Zee’s [Tziarra King] delivery off set pieces, Jimena’s [Lopez] ability to break lines, we have quality and sometimes we don’t get to see that all the time, with the depth that we have. It’s been a real team effort in winning this competition and those guys can feel really proud in playing the main role in winning it.”
“We’re a never say die team and we know what our quality is, so we just keep playing.” -Olivia Athens on the two Reign comebacks during the tournament.
OL Reign will head straight to Orlando after this, as they face the Orlando Pride on Friday, August 26. That match kicks off at 4 PM PT and if you live in the greater Seattle area, you can watch it on FOX13+, otherwise the standard setup of Paramount+ for fans in the U.S. and Twitch for international viewers.