Reign FC will face the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL semifinal on Sunday, October 20 at 10:30 a.m. PT on ESPN2. Following the club’s 2-2 draw against the Orlando Pride Saturday, the club secured a fourth-place finish in the league table.
Reign FC is 1-7-1 all-time against the Courage, who won their third-straight NWSL Shield in 2019. Reign FC notched it’s first-ever win against North Carolina on May 27, before losing their two meetings on the road on July 13 and on August 24.
“Anybody that has been around this league, even a little bit, knows what North Carolina is capable of and how good they are,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “We’re underdogs. We know that they’re ahead of us. We also know that if we play our best game, we have a chance. All our focus is now on preparing to play our best game.”
North Carolina’s offense boasts three of the league’s top 10 goalscorers: Lynn Williams (12 goals), Kristen Hamilton (9 goals) and Debinha (8 goals) have all hounded NWSL defenses this season.
The match will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. Reign FC is 0-5-0 all-time in road matches against the Courage.
Reign FC’s win over North Carolina was helped in large part thanks to the return midfielder Jess Fishlock, who played a critical role in the win after returning loan with Olympique Lyon. However, following her season-ending injury against Utah Royals FC on June 28, the club will be forced to look elsewhere to combat North Carolina’s dominance in the middle of the field.
Keeper Casey Murphy will have an important role to play. The 23-year-old’s debut came in the win over the Courage. Murphy has settled into the league since that time, keeping six clean sheets in 19 starts for the club.
“It’s not just going to come back to one or two players,” Andonovski said. “You always win or lose as a team. That goes for coaches, too. Now, it’s our job to get our squad prepared to give them the best chance to be successful when they step on the pitch.”