Reign FC (8-5-6, 30 points) will square off against the Washington Spirit (7-7-4, 25 points) on Saturday, September 14 at 4:30 p.m. PT. The clubs drew their two previous meetings this season on May 4 and June 15.
“We’re in to our last five matches of the regular season,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Now is the time for us to put our quality on display and make sure we’re still playing after October 12.”
Last Match: 3-1 W vs. Orlando Pride
A two-hour delay in the first half due to severe weather wasn’t enough to derail Reign FC, who used a three-goal barrage in the opening 17 minutes of play to take down the Orlando Pride on September 7.
A heavy storm rolled through Cheney Stadium as nearby lightning strikes forced the lengthy stoppage, but the club remained sharp when it returned to the pitch.
“During those two hours, we had a meeting—a few meetings, actually—and kept reminding them the importance of jumping out and being ready right away,” Andonovski said. “I think that that they were tremendous. Unfortunately, we didn’t score any of the opportunities that we created, but I felt that we could have scored another four or five goals.”
Jenkins Named Player of the Week
Forward Darian Jenkins scored Reign FC’s first two goals in the opening 12 minutes to record her first career brace. The effort earned her the NWSL’s Player of the Week Award for Week 21, awarded by the NWSL Media Association, a panel of independent journalists who cover the league on a consistent basis.
“I’m delighted for Darian,” Andonovski said. “All season long we’ve been watching her confidence and ability to threaten goal in our offense increase. I think she’s rounding into a form that will really help us in these last few matches.”
Rapinoe Makes 2019 NWSL Debut
The fans who showed up to Cheney Stadium hoping to see Reign FC Forward Megan Rapinoe—left off the club’s injury report for the first time this season—against Orlando had to wait longer than anticipated thanks to the lightning delay. Still, the World Cup Golden Boot-winner made her appearance in the 72nd minute.
The forward, who had not played since the end of the World Cup due to inflammation in her achilles tendon, hopes the outing against Orlando will help her prepare for more minutes down the line.
“I feel good,” Rapinoe said. “I think it’s just a matter of getting the miles back on the legs and seeing how long I can go. It’s been a minute since I’ve played and having a chunk of training under me. This week will be good. Hopefully, I’ll try to play a bit more once we’re in Washington.”
The Spirit sit one spot below Reign FC in the NWSL standings, with 25 points from 18 matches played. Washington is 1-3-1 in its last five matches. The club is led offensively by leading scorer Ashley Hatch with five goals and one assist in 18 appearances.
Reign FC will be without centerback Lauren Barnes, who had played every minute of the club’s first 19 matches. Barnes picked up her fifth yellow card of the season in the second half against Orlando and will serve a mandatory one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Reign FC is 10-4-4 all-time against Washington and have not lost to the Spirit in their last 10 meetings. This will be the first meeting between the two clubs at Audi Field, home to Major League Soccer side D.C. United.
“We’ve had two close games against Washington this year,” Andonovski said. “The first game on the road, we had plenty of chances but couldn’t put them away. The second game, they gave us a really good contest on our field and we were able to fight our way to a point. We just have to keep creating and finishing chances and we’ll be alright.”
Eight players are unavailable for selection in Saturday’s contest:
Taylor Smith (SEI - R Knee)
Jasmyne Spencer (SEI - L Knee)
Michelle Betos (SEI - R Achilles)
Jaycie Johnson (SEI - R Knee)
Scout Watson (SEI - Concussion)
Jessica Fishlock (SEI - L Knee)
Lydia Williams (45D - L Ankle)
Shea Groom (Rib)
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