Reign FC (4-1-5, 17 points) heads to Oregon to take on rivals Portland Thorns FC (5-1-4, 19 points) on Friday, July 5 at 8:00 p.m. PT. The match is the first league meeting between the two clubs after Portland eliminated Reign FC in the 2018 playoff semifinal.
“We’re going to take this game no differently than any other game,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “The mentality will be the same, the aggressiveness will be the same, the whole approach will be the same. We’re going to try to do our best and hopefully we’re able to get a positive result.”
Last Match: 2-0 W at Utah Royals FC
Reign FC won its second straight road match on June 28, knocking off Utah Royals FC 2-0. Jess Fishlock scored a goal and added an assist before being stretchered off early in the second half, while Ifeoma Onumonu recorded her first NWSL goal.
The club’s defense limited Utah to seven shots, while Casey Murphy made two saves to keep her second straight clean sheet.
World Cup Players Getting Reintegrated
Reign FC had players from Japan, Spain and Australia return to the club from international duty following their elimination at the World Cup. Those players may wind up featuring heavily in Friday’s match, but have cited their warm welcome by teammates and staff as a big boost to readjusting to club play.
“I think it’s exciting to have them back in the locker room,” defender Steph Cox said. “To know our roster and bench is a little bit fuller is great. I think that will give us a huge boost of energy and confidence since this is our third road game in a row.”
Reign FC and Portland will write the latest chapter in their rivalry Friday. The two clubs have played each other to an even 8-8-3 all-time record, with Reign FC posting a 3-5-2 record at Providence Park. The two clubs played to a scoreless draw in preseason as part of the Thorns Spring Invitational.
“Portland Seattle has always been a big rivalry for us,” Reign FC captain Lauren Barnes said. “We live for these games. All the tactics go out the window because you know it’s going to be a battle. We have to make sure we show up to these things. Playing them there away from home is going to be amazing. They always bring a great atmosphere.”
With Injuries and International Duty, It’s “Next Person Up”
Reign FC has been dealing with crucial player absences, both for international duty and injury. The club had 15 players unavailable for its match against Utah, but still managed to get a result on the road. Vlatko Andonovski praised his players for their mindset during a difficult stretch.
“The mentality of the players and the way they approach the games—not just these last couple—but all of them throughout the season, has been tremendous. They leave their hearts on the field. They give it all. On top of that, we’ve started connecting a lot better. We had lots of new players, so we spent more time together and we’re able to connect better.”
Nine players are unavailable for Reign FC in Friday’s contest:
Taylor Smith (torn ACL)
Jasmyne Spencer (torn ACL)
Jess Fishlock (torn ACL)
Jaycie Johnson (SEI knee)
Michelle Betos (ruptured achilles)
Scout Watson (concussion)
Morgan Andrews (hamstring)
Darian Jenkins (hamstring)
Rumi Utsugi (calf)
Additionally, one player is listed as questionable:
Kristen McNabb (calf)
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