Reign FC (5-2-5, 20 points) returns home after a four-match road stand to face the Chicago Red Stars (6-5-2, 20 points) at Cheney Stadium on Sunday, July 28 at 1:00 p.m. PT. The club is expecting a stadium sellout crowd to welcome home its nine players returning from the Women’s World Cup.
“I think it’s going to be a great show,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “They’re going to see 10 or more players that were in the World Cup less than a month ago on the field. They’re going to see some of the best players in the world right here in Tacoma. I hope they enjoy the show and everything that happens on the field.”
Home Sweet Home
Reign FC is unbeaten at home in 2019, posting a 2-0-3 record at Cheney Stadium in the first half of the season. A four-match run of consecutive matches at home between May 18 and June 15 sparked an eight-game unbeaten run the propelled Reign FC into first place before a 2-0 loss to the North Carolina Courage on July 13.
The club will welcome over 7,200 fans for Sunday’s contest.
“We’re looking forward to getting back out there in front of our fans,” Andonovski said. “The atmosphere is sure to give our players a big boost against a tough opponent.”
Welcoming New Faces
Despite having last week away from the field, Reign FC stayed busy during the bye week. The club brought in three new players, adding World Cup returnees New Zealand’s Rosie White and Canada’s Rebecca Quinn as well as defender Schuyler DeBree. Additionally, the club signed National Team Replacement Players Steph Cox and Addison Steiner for the remainder of the season and traded for keeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme.
New forward Rosie White mentioned the challenges of adjusting to a new club in the middle of the season.
“It’s just about finding your place in the team,” White said. “The team has been really welcoming and they’ve had a lot of changes this year, so I think they’re kind of used to new people, but I think proving yourself to new staff and new players is important while you’re finding the lay of the land. That said, of the teams that I have come in to, this has been a really inviting environment.”
Welcoming Back Familiar Faces
Following the U.S. Women’s National Team’s World Cup victory, Reign FC has all of its World Cup players back from international duty. English forward Jodie Taylor and World Cup winners Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long all rejoined the team in training this week ahead of the clash with Chicago.
Anodnovski said that the returning players would help integrate the new players who are trying to adjust to the club’s style of play.
“What helps the most is that we have a clear understanding of what our culture is all about and what our style of play is,” Anodnovski said. “Everybody knows it. Everybody understands it, especially the ones that have been here for a while. They are the ones that are driving the new culture. They are the ones that are helping the new players adjust to the culture.”
Sam Kerr’s Return Making an Impact for Chicago
Sam Kerr was red hot out of the gates upon her return from the World Cup with Australia. The forward bagged a hat trick in a 3-2 win over Orlando on June 30 and added a goal in a 2-1 win against North Carolina on July 21.
Reign FC held Kerr off the scoresheet in a 3-0 loss on the road back on April 28. The match ended Kerr’s NWSL record-tying six-match streak of games with a goal.
“Kerr is just one of the weapons that Chicago has,” Andonovski said. “Anytime you are playing against players of her caliber, you have to make sure you do the little things right to put yourself in a position to be successful. We’ve been working hard in training and we’ll be up for the challenge on Sunday.”
Eleven players are unavailable for selection for Sunday’s contest:
Taylor Smith (torn ACL)
Jasmyne Spencer (torn ACL)
Michelle Betos (ruptured achilles)
Jaycie Johnson (SEI knee)
Jess Fishlock (torn ACL)
Lydia Williams (45D ankle)
Scout Watson (SEI concussion)
Megan Rapinoe (achilles)
Darian Jenkins (hamstring)
Steph Cox (calf)
Rumi Utsugi (calf)
Additionally, one player is questionable for Sunday’s match:
Celia Jiménez Delgado (groin)
How to Watch
Gates to Cheney Stadium will open at 11:00 a.m. PT, two hours before kickoff.