Reign FC headed to Maryland on Thursday for their road match against the Washington Spirit on Saturday, May 4 at 4:00 p.m. PT. Reign FC is looking to rebound from its first loss of the season against the Chicago Red Stars on April 28.
“We’ve worked hard to get ready for this week’s match,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Our last match, I feel like we got away from our identity and fell into a habit of giving the ball away too easily. We’re going to fix that.”
Last Match: 3-0 Loss vs. Chicago
Reign FC suffered its first loss of the season against the Chicago Red Stars Sunday, April 28. The match—which had to be delayed by 15 hours due to snow—ended in a 3-0 loss for Reign FC after the club conceded in the 13th minute.
Andonovski said the club has to buckle down and stop the early concessions.
“I don’t know if there is anything (to change) other than mentality,” Andonovski said. “There isn’t a set of things tactically that we do differently in the first 15 minutes or the second or third, it’s just a mentality and an approach to the game.”
The club benefitted from another strong performance from centerback Lauren Barnes, who won all five of her tackles and made six interceptions in an effort that kept two-time Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr from finding the back of the net.
The Spirit are coming off a bye week after a 1-0-1 start to 2019. The club opened the year with a 2-0 against Sky Blue FC April 13, before dropping a 1-0 result on the road against the Utah Royals April 20.
First-year head coach Richie Burke brought in 13 new players after last year’s squad scored an NWSL record-fewest 12 goals.
Reign FC were 2-0-1 against Washington last year, but drew the only road contest between the two 0-0 on June 8.
“Washington are a team that have made a lot of changes, including a new coach,” Andonovski said. “We’ve been able to get a feel for how they want to play tactically from film, but now it’s time to see how we can match up against them.”
Reign FC will be without the services of four players for Saturday’s match due to injury, including Taylor Smith and Jasmyne Spencer, who were both moved to the season-ending injury list earlier this week. Additionally, midfielder Morgan Andrews is unavailable due to a hamstring issue, and Steph Catley remains unavailable due to a calf injury suffered with Australia during the last international break. Both Catley and Andrews are expected to be available for selection for Reign FC’s next match on May 18.
First World Cup Departures
Both clubs were affected by the first round of international call-ups for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France Thursday. Reign FC’s Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long will be joined by Washington’s Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle as the U.S. Women’s National Team enters its final phase of preparation for the World Cup.
Andonovski said that he expects his roster depth to contribute as the club’s international players step away for the World Cup.
“We came in knowing that this is a World Cup year,” Andonovski said. “Some of the players that we brought in before the season we brought in because we know they can help us while our national team players are gone. Everyone in the league has to deal with this, but I expect the players who are here to step in and uphold our standards.”
On Friday Reign FC announced that it had signed forward Maegan Kelly as a National Team Replacement Player. Kelly recently completed her first season at Atalanta Mozzanico in Italy’s Serie A Women, where she scored 8 goals after her signing in December 2018. Kelly was drafted by FC Kansas City, then led by Vlatko Andonovski, in 2014. Kelly last played in the NWSL in 2017, when she scored 5 goals in 22 appearances for FCKC.
How to Watch
Fans in the U.S. can watch every Reign FC match in 2019 on Yahoo! Sports or the Yahoo! Sports app. Fans outside the U.S. can watch matches live on NWSLsoccer.com.