Reign FC is set to face its archrival Portland Thorns FC away from home on Friday. Whether players have been with the club for only a few months or for years, they know matches against the Thorns have a different feel to them.
Centerback and captain Lauren Barnes, who has been with the club since its inaugural 2013 season, knows well what the rivalry represents.
“This has always been a big rivalry for us,” 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 (at Providence Park) is going to be amazing. They always bring a great atmosphere.”
In a preseason contest between the two clubs, the two sides combined for 22 fouls in a scoreless draw at the final match of the 2019 Thorns Spring Invitational.
Defender Steph Cox said the energy of Reign-Portland matches gives a boost to players and spectators alike.
“There’s a lot of emotion in these matches,” Cox said. “Both of us being from the Northwest, there’s a lot of pride. Our fans get super excited about the rivalry. So do we. We love driving down there and having a good, competitive game.”
With players away for international duty and injury, some of the club’s players will be part of their first rivalry match against the Thorns.
Forward Shea Groom said she has always admired the rivalry from afar, but is excited to get her first taste of the action for herself.
“I think every soccer fan knows about this rivalry and everything that it represents,” Groom said. “I remember watching as a player for (FC Kansas City) and Sky Blue, thinking what an incredible opportunity it would be. I’m excited to be a part of it with Reign FC. I’m always high energy for matches, but it’s going to be a whole different animal. I’m really excited for it.”
Reign FC plays the Thorns at 8:00 p.m. PT on Friday, July 5 at Providence Park.
Fans in the U.S. can watch the game on their phone, computer or streaming device on Yahoo! Sports, while fans outside of the U.S. can watch the match live on NWSLsoccer.com.