For the second time this season, Reign FC shut out the NWSL’s highest-scoring offense, beating rivals Portland Thorns FC 1-0 at Cheney Stadium in front of a crowd of 5,865 on Wednesday night. Midfielder Rosie White scored her second consecutive game-winning goal as the club picked up three points.
“As I was walking this way I was thinking about what this game looked like,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “I think it was a typical Reign-Portland game. At times physical, at times beautiful, at times opportunities and at times just a battle. That’s what it looked like. I thought that both teams played hard. I thought both teams were disciplined and organized. Even before the game we knew that one little thing was going to decide the game and I’m just glad that it was something we did.”
White struck in the 55th minute, when Ifeoma Onumonu swung in a cross from the left alley. Shea Groom redirected the cross back in front of the face of goal and White scrambled her way through a pile of defenders to tuck the ball past Thorns keeper Adrianna Franch.
The goal was White’s second in three appearances for Reign FC since signing with the club on July 16.
“I think (White has brought) her creativity (to the team),” Andonovski said. “I think when we lost (Jess Fishlock), obviously (Megan Rapinoe) hasn't played and we’re missing a little creativity and I think that’s where Rosie steps in and gives us a little bit of that. It wasn’t just a goal; she hit the crossbar a couple times. She connected well with the players. That’s what we’re getting from her. I don’t think it’s enough but I think there is still a lot to come.”
Reign FC centerback Lauren Barnes was named the player of the match after a standout defensive performance that included three blocks, four recoveries and eight defensive clearances to go with one tackle won. Barnes did not commit a foul in her 90 minutes on the pitch, the 10th time this season that Barnes has finished a match without conceding a free kick.
Reign FC was outshot 16-13 by the Thorns, but held a 4-2 advantage in shots on goal. Reign FC keeper Casey Murphy made two saves to keep her fifth clean sheet of the season.
Andonovski said his squad’s willingness to make sacrifices for one another is the driving force behind his team’s success.
“It’s the true meaning of family,” Andonovski said. “When I say we have a family environment and a group that exists like a family, I mean it. A lot of teams say ‘this is our family,’ I would challenge anyone to come and guess anything this group is doing. They are so together. They are so united. It’s amazing. I have been in this game for so long as player, coach, spectator and I have never seen anything like this. It’s obvious. It shows that’s what keeps us going.”
Reign FC finishes out a busy week against Utah Royals FC on Sunday, August 11 at 1:00 p.m. PT. The club won its first meeting with Utah on the road on June 28.