Reign FC (2-1-3, 9 points) recorded its first-ever win over the North Carolina Courage on Monday, May 27 in a 2-1 win at Cheney Stadium. What initially appeared to be an insurance goal from Shea Groom in the late stages of the match turned into the game-winner after the Courage found the back of the net in the 89th minute.
“I was very happy about the outcome of the game,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Anytime you get three points regardless of who you face is good, and then on top of that we faced probably the best team in the league. Even though they are missing so many players they are still the best or one of the best. I’m just happy we were able to get a positive result.”
Bethany Balcer opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Kristen McNabb swung in a cross from the left side and the forward headed the ball off the bar and in for her second professional goal.
Groom recorded the game-winner in the 86th minute. North Carolina keeper Katelyn Rowland charged out of the penalty area to clear away a long through ball, but was stripped by Groom, who fired into the empty net for her first goal of the season.
North Carolina pulled a goal back in the 89th minute. Courage defender Abby Erceg headed in a corner from Jaelene Hinkle, but the comeback fell short as Reign FC withstood pressure from the visitors.
The Courage tested Reign FC after Erceg’s goal. North Carolina managed five shots in the final three minutes of play and took five corner kicks over the same span.
Jess Fishlock started and played the full 90 minutes in her first match available after returning from loan with Olympique Lyonnais. The midfielder was the Reign FC Player of the Match, completing 25 of 36 passes and making nine recoveries, three clearances and one interception to go with a shot on goal.
Reign FC will next face the Houston Dash at home on Sunday, June 2 at 1:00 p.m. PT.