Reign FC (7-4-5, 26 points) are on road to face Sky Blue FC (3-11-3, 12 points) on Sunday, August 18 at 10:00 a.m. PT. Reign FC beat Sky Blue FC 2-1 in their first meeting of 2019 back on May 18.
“They looked very good against Chicago,” Coach Vlatko Andonovski said about Sky Blue’s win on Wednesday night. “They showed their true quality and how good they can be. Going in there is not going to be easy. No game is an easy game, at the same time we have quality to match against well against Sky Blue and hopefully get a result.”
Last Match: 3-1 L vs. Utah Royals FC
Coming off three matches in ten days Reign FC dropped a 3-1 home result to Utah Royals FC. Shea Groom scored her second goal of 2019 to level the two teams heading into halftime, but two second half goals by the Royals kept Reign FC in 4th at the end of the week.
“It was a decent game until the second goal,” said Andonovski. “Up until when we allowed the second goal I thought we were organized and disciplined. We denied them from creating opportunities and then a mistake on our goal kick, we allowed a player to dribble 50 yards down to score a goal. That’s something that’s unacceptable.”
Belief and Cohesion
Reign FC have a strong history of bouncing back from losses under Coach Andonovski. The group of players and coaches emphasize their belief in each other, trust, and a fighting spirit that battles through adversity and injury. Whether injured, starting, or on the bench the squad works towards the same goal – wins.
“For those players on the bench it’s almost like they are on the field,” Andonovski said. “They want to help in any way possible and the players on the field want to recognize that as well. They’ve seen different type of cultures, and they know what it takes to create a healthy, safe culture where everybody can develop.”
Kickstarting the Offense
Recent addition Rosie White is adding valuable punch to the attack. She scored in her first two starts and has 3.4 shots per game with Reign FC. Scoring punch from the midfield can supplement the aggressive forwards. Andonovski’s attackers are settling into roles as health and form saw the top five all get at least two starts in the busy ten-day stretch.
“It is a little by design,” said Andonovski. “We do expect a little more from the forwards, but the outcome is not always there from them. We’ve got to find a way to get more shots, more chances, more goals ultimately from anywhere because we need more goals.”
Under the Lights (ESPNews & Red Bull Arena)
Sky Blue moved the match from their traditional home of Yurcak Field up I-95 to Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. It will be the largest crowd in Sky Blue history. The match is also part of the ESPN package. It is Reign FC’s second match on this year’s TV package. Reign beat Houston 1-0 in the first. The regular season home finale against Portland Thorns is on ESPN2.
“It shows how much the league is moving forward, and the growth of the league – the excitement of the fans for the women’s soccer game, after the World Cup. It makes us excited as well. Being on national TV is something that makes us excited and more enthusiastic with just a little more energy going into it.”
11 players are unavailable for selection in Sunday’s contest:
Taylor Smith (SEI torn R ACL)
Jasmyne Spencer (SEI torn L ACL)
Jess Fishlock (SEI torn L ACL)
Michelle Betos (SEI ruptured R Achilles)
Jaycie Johnson (SEI R knee)
Scout Watson (SEI concussion)
Lydia Williams (45D L ankle)
Megan Rapinoe (L achilles)
Rumi Utsugi (L calf)
Steph Cox (R calf)
Kristen McNabb (L soleus)
How to Watch
Fans in the U.S. can watch the game on ESPNews, while fans outside of the U.S. can watch the match live on NWSLsoccer.com.