clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Three stats: OL Reign vs. NC Courage

Some data that helps explain the Reign’s 1-0 road loss.

NWSL: OL Reign at North Carolina Courage Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, OL Reign couldn’t connect passes and, as a result, let the North Carolina Courage dominate possession. The Reign’s inability to disrupt the Courage led to a Tyler Lussi goal in the 34th minute and a 1-0 road loss for the Reign.

OL Reign had a couple of good chances at the end — and ended with .96 expected goals (xG) compared to .55 xG for the Courage, but expected goals don’t win games. Real goals do, and OL Reign couldn’t find the back of the net.

Here are three stats that help tell the story of the match.


Lining up on the left side, Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Barnes combined for just 23 completed passes all match. Despite struggling to keep possession, OL Reign continued to try to build up the right side of the field all match. As a result, right-sided players Sofia Huerta and Veronica Latsko combined for 43 completed passes — nearly twice as many as their counterparts on the other side.

Jess Fishlock, who started on the left in the midfield alongside Emily Sonnett in the Reign’s 4-2-3-1 formation, only completed 8 of her 11 passes.

With players like Rapinoe and Fishlock on the field, you would not expect the team’s pass map to have such a giant hole on the left side. But that’s exactly what happened on Sunday. The Reign failed to bring these players into the match, as you can see from their overall pass map and the pass network created by Arielle Dror on Twitter.

OL Reign’s passes against NC Courage

While this build-up almost appeared strategic, OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey confirmed after the match that it most certainly wasn’t.

“I felt we could have switched the ball 100,000 times more than we did. We didn’t. I thought that played into their hands a little bit, and that’s something we’ve got to look at because when we can switch the point of attack, when we can keep possession and switch it around the back or move the ball, we become a better team because of it — and we didn’t do that enough today. So, that’s something that we’ll definitely be looking at.”

The field started to open up for the last 30 minutes of the match — in large part due to the addition of Quinn in the midfield — but the Reign still lacked the quality in front of goal.


OL Reign attempted a season-low 339 passes, including a season-low 128 attempted short passes. The team also had a season-low 75.8% short pass completion rate (according to FBref).

The Courage, on the other hand, attempted 540 passes, including a season-high 269 short passes. The team knew heading into the match that the Courage would try to dictate play by dominating possession, but the Reign didn’t close down fast enough to disrupt this. And when the Reign got the ball, they all too often gave it right back to North Carolina.

“We knew it was going to be difficult in a 3 PM kickoff on the East [coast] in hot conditions. I think, when we were smart in how we played, we did some good things. When fatigue sat in and we weren’t as smart, we made it difficult for ourselves,” Harvey said after the match.

This is a match that really highlighted how much OL Reign misses Rose Lavelle in the midfield, who is disruptive on the defensive end and can create space by carrying the ball or with a quality pass under pressure. Harvey confirmed after the match that Lavelle’s injury is a knee injury that was worse than anticipated when she returned from international duty. However, Lavelle is back training with the team, which is a positive sign for her eventual return.


Due to back-to-back injuries, OL Reign midfielder Quinn had played just 11 regular-season minutes heading into this weekend. They returned to the pitch on Sunday as a second-half substitute and played for 32 minutes. During that time, OL Reign had five of their 10 shots — including their only two shots on goal, both from Jordyn Huitema.

Quinn completed 18 of 23 passes, the fifth most for the entire team. They also went 2-for-2 on long balls, completed six passes into the final third, made four recoveries, and went 3-for-3 on tackles and ground duels. It was the kind of energy that OL Reign needed, even if the team couldn’t get the equalizer.

“Obviously, they’ve been out a little while — (Quinn) adds quality, adds someone who can keep the ball for us, enables us to get Jess (Fishlock) higher up the field, which is a positive,” Harvey said after the match. “Yeah, it’s good to get them back out on the field today.”

OL Reign will look to get back on track this Sunday, May 21, when they host NJ/NY Gotham FC. That match at Lumen Field kicks off at 3 PM PT and will stream on Paramount+.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Sounder At Heart Weekly Roundup newsletter!

A twice weekly roundup of Seattle Sounders and OL Reign news from Sounder at Heart