Though dominating possession and regularly threatening goal, Reign FC lost to Sky Blue FC 1-0 on Saturday night. Midfielder Carli Lloyd scored the match-winner for Sky Blue in the 77th minute. A crowd of 6,189 were on hand for the match at Cheney Stadium.
Forward Megan Rapinoe started her first Reign match of 2019, playing the full 90-minutes.
“I’m not at peak. It’s tough. This league is tough,” Rapinoe said after the loss. “It’s very transitional. It was good to get 90 minutes in. I haven’t had it in a while.”
Reign FC held the shots and possession at half with 11 shots to six shots. They used Rapinoe and forward Darian Jenkins to send several crosses in, but forced few saves by Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.
The second 45 started as a tighter affair. Sky Blue subbed on midfielder Naho Kawasumi in the 62nd minute. The former Reign FC player used a deftly threaded ball to split the back line of her former team and send Carli Lloyd in on goal. Lloyd’s finish was her seventh of the season.
Pushing for a goal late head coach Vlatko Andonovski used a double-substitution to bring on forwards Ifeoma Onumonu and Jodie Taylor for defender Theresa and forward Darian Jenkins.
Even with extra attackers on the pitch, Reign FC could not find the back of the net.
Forward Bethany Balcer finished with 11 shots and blocked shots on the evening. The Reign FC player of the match was particularly threatening in the second half when she had seven attempts on the net. Balcer also forced Sheridan into a misplayed ball in second half stoppage time.
Coach Andonovski expected more goals on the evening, “I thought we played well enough – we created opportunities to score at least one goal, if not more.”
Reign FC will move on quickly with the rescheduled match against Utah Royals FC on Wednesday, September 25 at 7:00 p.m. (all tickets to the Sept. 18 date will be valid). The home finale against Portland Thorns is at 11 a.m. on Sunday, September 29. That match is now on ESPN2.