OL Reign will have its first preseason test on Saturday when the club hosts Liga MX Femenil side Club América at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila. Limited tickets remain for the preseason friendly, which kicks off at 7:30 PM PT.
For fans that can’t make it to Starfire, FOX 13 will be airing the match in what is hopefully the first of many OL Reign games on local TV this year.
Our friendly on Saturday, 2/25, will be available locally on @fox13seattle with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. PT! #BoldTogether pic.twitter.com/CNNC8xwDFJ— OL Reign (@OLReign) February 22, 2023
This isn’t the first meeting between OL Reign and Club América, nor will it be the last thanks to a newly formed partnership between OL Reign, Olympique Lyonnais, and Club América. The two sides met in the 2022 Women’s Cup last August, with OL Reign coming out on top with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Tziarra King and Olivia Van der Jagt. That match featured just two regular starters in the initial lineup, as OL Reign rotated heavily to allow some of the depth players to contribute during the midseason tournament.
Here are five things to know ahead of Saturday’s preseason match.
It should be chilly
According to current weather forecasts, it should be in the high 30s at kickoff on Saturday. There may or may not be a little precipitation to go with the cold weather, so bundle up and prepare for a chilly match. Starfire Stadium has some cover in the main stands of the stadium, which should keep most fans dry if the rain starts to fall.
OL Reign will also have merchandise for sale, including a limited-edition scarf to commemorate the new partnership with Club América. If you need a little extra warmth, that scarf may do the trick.
Club América are winners
América Femenil won its first league title by winning the Apertura 2018 tournament, beating Tigres in penalties. They’ve advanced to multiple tournament appearances since then, but like OL Reign have been unable to earn another championship trophy. Just last year, América advanced to the Apertura final — and again faced Tigres in a home-and-away series. In the first leg of the final, América welcomed 52,654 fans at Estadio Azteca. Unfortunately, América ultimately lost the series 3-0.
ANOTHER AMAZING STAT— nubia ✰ (@nxbaafnkln) November 12, 2022
52,654 in attendance at El Azteca tonight to watch @TigresFemenil and @AmericaFemenil! https://t.co/nNwwCECwWE
Like OL Reign, América is a perennial playoff figure. América currently has a 5-0-2 record in the Clausura and went 11-3-3 in the Apertura. The worst the team finished was eighth, going 6-5-6 in the 2021 Clausura — which still advanced them to the playoffs. The Liga MX Femenil season is split into two championships: the Torneo Apertura 2022 (opening tournament) and the Torneo Clausura 2023 (closing tournament). Each tournament features an identical format and includes the same 18 teams playing each other one time. Teams compete in a single group each tournament, and the best eight advance to the playoffs.
Expect OL Reign to feature depth
Eight OL Reign players are returning from international duty at the end of the week, with most featuring in two to three matches in the last 10 days. Alana Cook, Sofia Huerta, Rose Lavelle, Megan Rapinoe, and Emily Sonnett all represented the United States in the SheBelieves Cup tournament, which the U.S. won. Jordyn Huitema and Quinn also featured for Canada in the same tournament, in addition to fighting their federation for equal treatment. Jess Fishlock and Wales played in the Pinatar Cup in Spain, going undefeated against Scotland, Iceland, and the Philippines.
Don’t expect these players to see a ton of minutes during Saturday’s friendly. Instead, this should be a great way to get their OL Reign teammates meaningful minutes in a match environment — and an important opportunity for the Reign to test their depth against a strong team in midseason form.
Club América has goal-scorers
In the Liga MX Femenil Apertura, América scored 37 goals in 17 matches. They’ve already scored 25 goals in their first seven matches of Clausura play. Leading the way is Kiana Palacios, a Mexico national team forward who already has nine goals in six games. She had 13 in América’s Apertura as well — and scored the team’s lone goal against OL Reign in the Women’s Cup last year.
Kiana Palacios breaks the deadlock for @AmericaFemenil— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) August 17, 2022
Her second goal of the @thewomenscup pic.twitter.com/bBgD3MigUX
Scarlett Camberos gave OL Reign a lot of trouble on the left wing, and she’s been doing that to Liga MX opponents as well. Camberos, who has speed with and without the ball, has three goals so far in six matches. Her performances with América earned Camberos her first Mexico national team call-up in August 2022.
Former Chicago Red Stars players Sarah Luebbert is also a key contributor for América. She joined the club on loan in 2021 before returning to Chicago when the loan ended, then officially transferred to América for the 2023 season. She’s got three goals already in nearly 400 minutes.
Club América has a tough schedule
Club América is in the middle of the Liga MX Femenil Clausura, having already played seven matches this year. In addition to having a number of players on international duty in the last week, América also had a league match Thursday, before they head to Seattle. They’ll also be facing Angel City FC on March 8, just two days after another league match. These league games are important ones, as Club América currently sits in second place with an extra game played — just one point out of first. They didn’t play all of their starters on Thursday, so fans can expect a strong lineup from América, but also plenty of rotation.
While OL Reign still has a month left before their first match, this friendly against Club América will be an important step in ensuring they start the regular season well. It’s also a great way to introduce fans to a dominant team in Mexico.
The friendly kicks off at Starfire Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 PM PT. The club has not released any streaming details, but the match will air locally on FOX 13.