Reign FC (5-3-5, 20 points) lost its first home match of 2019 against the Chicago Red Stars (7-5-2, 23 points) Sunday, dropping a 4-0 result at home in front of a crowd of 7,479 that set a club record for a home match and was the highest Reign FC home attendance in club history.
“(The Red Stars) were just better than us,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “They found a lot of space between our lines and executed everything that they tried very well. They were finding space in the pockets and connecting well and beating us to the ball. Altogether, they were the better team.
“The bottom line was that we were not able to switch the point of attack or take any control of the midfield. I think their midfielders were dominating the attack and setting the rhythm for their team. We were never able to establish that for our team.”
Chicago struck four minutes in. Yuki Nagasato forced a diving save from Reign FC keeper Casey Murphy, but the Red Stars’ Arin Wright followed the shot in and converted the rebound at the back post to give the visitors the lead.
Vanessa DiBernardo added to the tally 10 minutes later. Sam Kerr raced down the right side of the pitch and found DiBernardo with a cutback cross at the top of the area, which the midfielder finished to the left side of the net to beat a diving Murphy.
The Red Stars added their third goal six minutes into the second half. Casey Short floated a cross to the left post and it was turned in by Nagasato as Murphy went the wrong way.
Kerr scored her 11th goal of the season in the 81st minute, running onto a through ball from Katie Johnson behind the back line and finishing after going one-on-one with Murphy.
Chicago outshot Reign FC 19-13, including a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal. Chicago’s defense frustrated Reign FC, making 32 clearances in the span of 90 minutes.
“After the match we didn’t go into any detail in terms of what we could do different or better,” Andonovski said. “One thing I said was that every individual has to look at the game and analyze themselves individually and not as a team. Obviously, myself and the staff will have to analyze and see how to prepare to play against a team like Chicago.”
Reign FC travels to face the Houston Dash on Friday, August 2 at 4:00 p.m. PT. The Reign is 0-0-2 against Houston this season.