Reign FC suffered their first defeat of the season on Sunday at Seat Geek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois. The club fell 3-0 on the road to the Chicago Red Stars.
The match had initially been scheduled for 5:00 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 27, but snowy conditions and an effective temperature of 14 degrees after factoring in wind chill caused the league to reschedule the match to midday Sunday.
Chicago defender Casey Short opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Yuki Nagasato picked out Short in the right alley and the defender pressed toward the penalty area when she wasn’t closed down. Short sent a cross to the back post, but it floated over the head of Reign goalkeeper Lydia Williams and landed in the far side netting for Short’s first goal of the season.
Nagasato added the second goal eight minutes into the second half. A quick through ball played Sam Kerr in behind Reign FC’s back line. Williams charged out of the penalty area to make the save, but the clearance fell to Nagasato, who floated it into the open net from 30 yards out to make it 2-0.
Reign FC appeared to have scored a goal in the 59th minute, when Jodie Taylor managed to lift a ball past a prone Alyssa Naeher from inside the six-yard box. Before the ball bounced inside the goal, however, Red Stars defender Katie Naughton – whose entire body was inside the goal – made a physics-defying clearance to redirect the shot into the crossbar and out of the goal.
Taylor spun away from goal, claiming that the ball had crossed the line, but play was waved on by referee Danielle Chesky.
Substitute Brooke Elby provided the final tally in the 89th minute. One minute after entering the match for Katie Johnson, Elby was picked out by Michele Vasconcelos in space at the far post and Elby tucked it home.
Offensively, Reign FC were led by Bethany Balcer, who took a match-high six shots and nearly scored in the fifth minute when a long-range shot that forced Naeher to tip the ball just over the crossbar.
Defensively, Reign FC had its hands full with Kerr. The Australian striker had five shots, including three on target, but was closely marked by centerback and captain Lauren Barnes. Williams also stepped up against Kerr, turning aside three separate one-on-one opportunities after the Chicago forward’s speed put her behind Reign FC’s back line.
Kerr finished the match goalless, ending her scoring streak of six consecutive league matches with at least one goal. The streak ties the NWSL record, held by Abby Wambach and former Reign FC midfielder Kim Little.
Reign FC next travels to Washington, D.C. to play the Washington Spirit on Saturday, May 4 at 4:00 p.m. PT.