Reign FC (10-6-7, 37 points) will play its final match of the regular season on the road against the Orlando Pride (4-16-3, 15 points) on Saturday, October 12 at 4:30 p.m. PT. Having clinched the final NWSL playoff spot, Reign FC is looking to end the season on a positive note to carry momentum into the postseason.
“Some might think that the pressure is off because we know that we’re going to be in the playoffs, but I want this to be our best match of the season” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “We can’t afford to get complacent, so we’ll go out there and look to finish strong.”
Last Match: 2-0 W vs. Portland Thorns FC
Reign FC completed their regular season sweep of rivals Portland Thorns FC with a 2-0 win at home on Sunday, September 29. The win clinched a playoff spot for Reign FC.
Forward Jodie Taylor scored her fourth goal of the season in the 27th minute, collecting a Theresa Nielsen cross and finishing the bouncing ball to the far side net for the game-winning goal.
After subbing on in the second half, Bethany Balcer extended her team scoring lead with her sixth goal of the season in the 81st minute.
“These are the games that I live for, personally,” midfielder Allie Long said. “It was going to come down to who won the 50-50 balls and who got on the second balls that was going to determine the flow of the game. I think that’s where we dominated. I thought that we had the flow of the game because we won most of the 50-50s. No one in our midfield is going to shy away from a tackle. That’s how they are too. It’s just about heart and who wants it more.”
Reign FC will face either the North Carolina Courage or the Chicago Red Stars in their NWSL semifinal game, depending on the results of the final day of the season.
If the club defeats Orlando and Portland loses or ties against the Washington Spirit, Reign FC will secure a third-place finish in league play and face the Chicago Red Stars in the playoffs.
A loss or draw against Orlando or a Portland victory against Washington means that Reign FC will finish in fourth place and face NWSL Shield winners North Carolina Courage in the semifinals.
“There won’t be any easy roads in the playoffs,” Andonovski said. “We’ll have to be well prepared and play our style to be successful, but I know that we’re capable of great things. Right now, though, we’re focused on Orlando. We’ll see where things stand after Saturday and then we’ll go to work.”
Reign FC has taken four points against Orlando in 2019, drawing their home opener 1-1 on April 21 before recording a 3-1 win on September 7 in a match that was delayed for over two hours during intense thunderstorms. Saturday’s contest will be the lone meeting of the season between the two clubs at Exploria Stadium.
Orlando is led offensively by Marta, who has scored five goals in 13 appearances for the Pride this season. The club has shut down forward Alex Morgan for the year with an injury to her right patella tendon, but has recently been bolstered by the return of Sydney Leroux. Leroux, who missed most of the season while on maternity leave, has appeared in the club’s last two matches as a substitute.
“This Orlando team is dangerous, even without Alex Morgan,” Andonovski said. “Our goal is to compete and try to win every match. We can’t let ourselves go to sleep just because we’ve made the playoffs. We have to take care of business and ensure we finish the season on a high note on the road.”
Eight players are unavailable for selection in Saturday’s contest:
Jess Fishlock (SEI – L knee)
Taylor Smith (SEI – R knee)
Jasmyne Spencer (SEI – L knee)
Scout Watson (SEI – concussion)
Jaycie Johnson (SEI – R knee)
Rebecca Quinn (R hamstring)
Megan Oyster (L knee)
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