Reign FC (7-4-6, 27 points) continue their road trip on Saturday with a contest at NC Courage (8-4-4, 28 points). The August 24, 4:00 p.m. PT match is between two teams aiming for second place by the end of the weekend. Reign FC split the previous two matches with the Courage, winning 2-1 at Cheney Stadium on May 27 and losing 2-0 at WakeMed Soccer Park on July 13.
“It’s a good test. Anytime you go to North Carolina and face them on their own field it’s a good test,” said Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “It doesn’t have to be a judgement on our team. We’re seeking a result while on the road for two weeks now, going from one place to another. It’s a difficult trip on the East Coast. We aren’t going to use that an excuse, it’s just different.”
Last Match: 1-1 D at Sky Blue FC
In the first match of the two game road trip Reign FC took a point from Sky Blue FC. Sky Blue FC midfielder Elizabeth Eddy scored the opening goal for Sky Blue and Reign FC forward Jodie Taylor responded with her second goal of the season just moments later. Reign FC goalkeeper Casey Murphy’s net was rarely threatened, and her 90th minute save kept the match tied.
Defense is the Star
Though it wasn’t a clean sheet, Reign kept Sky Blue to just a single goal. It was the thirteenth time that the Reign defense kept their opponent to a goal or less in 2019. Coach Andonovski’s defense are 7-0-6 in those matches.
“I thought we did well. (The defense) kept Sky Blue to a few shots on goal until late in the game when they got four or five shots,” Andonovski said. “Other than that they were very good and controlled the attack. They also did well in the buildup and started our attack very well.”
Chance Creation Needs to Create Goals
Against Sky Blue, Reign generated 18 shots. Reign head into the weekend third in the league in shots taken and have yet to be shutout in their four August matches. It’s an attack just shy of being potent, something Andonovski thinks can happen soon.
“I’m happy that we generated shots and more opportunities,” said Andonovski. “We came up a bit short on goals, but that comes down to the final touch and putting the ball in the net.”
North Carolina Tested by International Champions
Last week North Carolina had an NWSL bye week, instead playing in the Women’s International Champions’ Cup. NCC beat Manchester City 2-1 and lost 1-0 to Lyon. Those high-level matches should not impact this weekend’s game, except to have possibly made the Courage an even better squad.
“They’re going to have 6 to 7 days to recover,” Andonovski pointed out. “Playing those matches may help them and make them better coming off of those games.”
12 players are unavailable for selection in Saturday’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)
Shea Groom (Rib)
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