Reign FC will look to continue its preseason form in a friendly against the Chicago Red Stars at Merlo Field in Portland, Ore. on Wednesday, March 27 at 1:30 p.m. PT. Having already defeated UCLA and the U.S. Women’s National Team U23s, the Reign will square off against an NWSL opponent for the first time in the 2019 preseason.
Darian Jenkins on an early scoring streak
Darian Jenkins has made the most of two preseason starts for Reign FC. The forward has consistently found space on the wings and generated three goals for the club—two scored on her own and one forced own-goal against UCLA on March 16.
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski is pleased with the early production after trading the club’s first round draft pick to North Carolina, but will want to see how Jenkins performs against other NWSL competition the rest of the week.
“I would say I’m happy with everything that I’ve seen so far,” Andonovski said. “I don’t want to get too excited until we see her in league games, but so far everything is moving well.”
Scouting the Red Stars
The Reign were winless against Chicago in 2018, posting an 0-2-1 record against the team that finished one spot beneath them in the standings. Manager Rory Dames has brought back 18 players from last year’s squad, to go along with a number of draftees and non-roster invitees hoping to earn a contract.
The Red Stars traded the rights to Christen Press to the Utah Royals to move up and draft Tierna Davidson with the number one overall pick. Davidson, 20, won the 2018 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year Award, helping the U.S. win the SheBelieves Cup and becoming the first national team player to go the full 90 in her first five senior team appearances since Julie Foudy in 1994.
Davidson joins a stout defense that is home to U.S. National Team players Julie Ertz, Casey Short and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. All four players—along with Reign FC’s Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long—have been called in to the U.S. National Team camp by head coach Jill Ellis for upcoming April friendlies.
Offensively, Chicago still boasts the services of Australian forward Sam Kerr, who has won the Golden Boot the past two years and recorded 16 goals and four assists in 2018.
Andonovski expects to rotate squad for Wednesday friendly
As the club works to get players fit for 90 minutes of play, Andonovski said the Reign would make several lineup changes from the squad that won Sunday’s friendly. The changes, Andonovski said, would allow him to further evaluate the preseason roster as the club continued its preparations for the NWSL season.
“We’re not in a point where we can put out the same lineup for three games in six days,” Andonovski said. “Besides, I would like to see some more players and would like to see how different players connect with different teammates and what those relationships will look like. We’re going to have a few changes going into tomorrow and we’ll see how everything plays out.”