Reign FC kept their first clean sheet of the season Saturday in a scoreless draw against the Washington Spirit. The club forced a pair of highlight-reel saves from Spirit keeper Aubrey Bledsoe in the match’s closing minutes at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Reign FC held Washington from tallying a shot on goal in the first half, forcing the Spirit’s attackers into the wide channels and low-percentage shots.
Washington manager Richie Burke made a halftime switch to bring on forward Cheyna Matthews for Amy Harrison. Matthews made an immediate impact, helping manufacture three shots on target and a blocked shot in the first six minutes of the second half.
Reign FC adjusted to the new pressure and pursued opportunities at the other end of the field. Theresa Nielsen found Jodie Taylor with a low cross in the 71st minute, but Taylor’s quick shot at the edge of the six-yard box was pounced on by Bledsoe.
Reign FC managed another chance in the 85th minute. Substitute Bethany Balcer poked at a bouncing ball sent in by an Elise Kellond-Knight corner kick and put the ball on frame, but Bledsoe swiped the ball away with her arm.
Two minutes later, Reign FC lined up for a free kick just outside the 18 after Matthews was cautioned for handling the ball. Kellond-Knight curled a free kick over the wall, but Bledsoe made a diving stop to punch the Australian’s shot away.
Reign FC outshot Washington 18-12, including a 9-4 advantage in shots on goal. Reign FC Michelle Betos made four saves in keeping the club’s first clean sheet of the season.
Reign FC enters a bye week before hosting Sky Blue FC for its second home match at Cheney Stadium on Saturday, May 18 at 1:00 p.m. PT.