Reign FC (1-1-3, 6 points) continues its four-match home stand against the North Carolina Courage (2-1-3, 9 points). The Courage became the first club to win the NWSL Shield and Championship in the same year last season.
“We’re entering an important part of our season,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “With players leaving for the World Cup, it’s time for our depth to step up and become the contributors we know they can be against a good opponent.”
Last Match: 2-1 Win Versus Sky Blue FC
Reign FC notched its first win of the season against Sky Blue FC on May 18 in front of a crowd of 3,036 at Cheney Stadium. Despite conceding an early goal, the club bullied its way into an equalizer in the 13th minute after a mass of bodies forced Sky Blue midfielder Julie James to head a corner kick into her own net.
Jodie Taylor nabbed her first goal of the season and the game-winner in the 78th minute, pouncing on a loose ball inside the six yard box.
“I can’t be happier,” Andonovski said. “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.”
Scouting North Carolina
Reign FC was 0-2-1 against North Carolina last season as the Courage put together a nearly-unbeaten 17-1-6 record. Both clubs are carrying a single loss entering Monday’s contest.
North Carolina has returned the core group of players that helped it become the first team in league history to win the domestic double last season. While seven are currently away on national team duty (including four players for the U.S. Women’s National team), the club can still rely on the attacking services of forward Lynn Williams, who is tied for third in league scoring with three goals in six appearances.
Defensively, North Carolina features midfielder McCall Zerboni, who narrowly missed the 23-player roster for the U.S. Women’s National Team in France. Zerboni led the league with 63 tackles won and was second in interceptions with 70 in 2018.
Goalkeeper Adjustments Incoming
Both clubs will test their goalkeeper roster depth in Monday’s contest.
North Carolina’s Stephanie Labbe has been called away for international duty with Canada for the World Cup, meaning Katelyn Rowland will likely get the start for head coach Paul Riley’s squad. Rowland has allowed four goals in her two starts this season.
For Reign FC, Lydia Williams is off to join Australia as the Matildas finish preparations for their World Cup campaign. The club also placed keeper Michelle Betos on the Season Ending Injury List on May 22. Betos ruptured her achilles tendon in the final minutes of Reign FC’s win over Sky Blue FC on May 18.
Reign FC has made recent goalkeeper acquisitions, however. Casey Murphy, who played the last two seasons with Montpellier in France and was the keeper of the year for the Division 1 Féminine for the 2017-18 season, joined the club on May 15. Murphy will be available for selection Monday. The club also signed Scout Watson to a National Team Replacement Player contract on May 22.
Reign FC will have three players unavailable for selection for Monday’s match:
Michelle Betos (ruptured Achilles)
Taylor Smith (torn ACL)
Jasmyne Spencer (torn ACL)
How to Watch
Tickets for Monday’s match can be purchased at Ticketmaster, via phone at 855-REIGN-FC, or at the Cheney Stadium Box Office.
Fans in the U.S. unable to attend the match in person can watch the game on their phone, computer or streaming device on Yahoo! Sports, while fans outside of the U.S. can watch the match live on NWSLsoccer.com.