Reign FC (1-1-3, 6 points) notched its first win of the season Saturday, earning a 2-1 win over Sky Blue FC (0-4-2, 2 points) at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington. Jodie Taylor scored a goal in the 78th minute to open her 2019 scoring account and help the club take all three points in front of a crowd of 3,036.
“I’m happy that we got the result that we desired,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “We got three points. It was important for us to get those points. We started very well. Everything went according to plan, we did what we were supposed to. The intensity was there; the creativity was there. We made one mistake, got scored on, and everything went downhill from there. We started losing the ball in critical areas. They were more intense, more aggressive. In the second half we made a few tactical adjustments to stop their counterattacks, which helped a lot because they weren’t able to create any opportunities in the second half. It resulted in fewer opportunities for us, but we created enough to score a second goal.”
Sky Blue FC capitalized on an early miscue 10 minutes in. Savannah McCaskill picked off a Lauren Barnes pass in Reign FC’s defensive third and laid the ball off to Nahomi Kawasumi. Kawasumi connected with Raquel Rodriguez with a casual cross at the back post to open the scoring.
The hosts didn’t wait long to respond. Three minutes later, overwhelming pressure on a Theresa Nielsen corner kick forced Sky Blue midfielder Julie James into an attempted header clearance that wound up in her own net to level the score.
Taylor’s goal came from another unsettled situation. A Shea Groom cross from the right side was knocked back toward goal by a defender, forcing keeper Didi Haracic into a diving stop to deny a second own goal. As the ball continued to roll toward the goal line, Taylor sprinted forward and tapped the ball in for the game-winning goal.
Reign FC keeper Michelle Betos sustained an injury early into second half stoppage time. After several minutes with the trainer and team doctor, Betos was helped off the pitch. Out of substitutes, Andonovski turned to midfielder Morgan Andrews to close out the match. Andrews did not register a save, but did collect a cross to deny Sky Blue FC a late opportunity.
Midfielder Beverly Yanez earned Player of the Match honors, helping Reign FC transition into the final third. Yanez finished with three shots, 10 recoveries, one interception and two tackles won in a 90-minute performance that helped the club hold up Sky Blue’s counter attacks.
Reign FC outshot Sky Blue 20-6 and had an 11-2 advantage on corners, but only put four shots on target in the win.
“I can’t be happier. One thing about this team, is we’ve never quit. Since the day I’ve come in, one thing I’m proud of is our togetherness and our ability to do things for each other. Not many teams can go through what we’ve gone through and come out stronger.”