Reign FC (7-5-6, 27 points) returns home for the first time in nearly a month to host the Orlando Pride (4-12-2, 14 points) at Cheney Stadium on Saturday, September 7 at 7:00 p.m. PT (limited tickets available). Reign FC, currently in fifth place in the league table, is hoping to propel itself back into a playoff spot.
“The simple truth is that we’re not on the right side of the red line right now,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “We’ve got to take care of business in these last few matches to make sure that we make the postseason.”
Last Match: 1-0 L at North Carolina Courage
Reign FC adopted a different tactical approach in its final match of the regular season against the North Carolina Courage. The club switched to a 5-4-1 intended to combat North Carolina’s dominance in the middle of the field, but eventually conceded the game-winning goal to Lynn Williams in the 82nd minute.
“We shut down and lost focus for one moment,” Reign FC midfielder Allie Long said. “They’re a great team that’s going to punish you when you turn off for a second. As a team, we need to be better and need to be focused every minute of the game.”
Returning Internationals Riding High
Reign FC had seven players called into their respective national teams during the recent FIFA international break. Allie Long and Jodie Taylor wound up scoring for the United States and England, respectively, while Casey Murphy, Bethany Balcer and Schuyler DeBree helped the U.S. Women’s National Team U-23s win the Nordic Tournament in England.
“It’s always good when players come back from international duty having experienced some success,” Andonovski said. “It can improve the confidence of players who maybe aren’t in their best form and it gives players who are in good form a chance to keep the momentum going.”
Reign FC and Orlando played to a 1-1 draw in Reign FC’s home opener back on April 21. The Pride are at the bottom of the table and have won two of their last five matches. Star forward Alex Morgan missed the club’s August 24 loss to Washington with a concussion.
Orlando’s offense is paced by Marta, who has five goals in 12 appearances. Chioma Ubogagu, who scored four goals and added two assists in 17 appearances, was waived by the club on August 29 to allow Ubogagu to sign with CD Tacón in Spain.
“Orlando are a club that has been getting results despite some recent aversity,” Andonovski said. “We’ve been fighting our way through adversity this year, too, so we know that you can never look past a club just because of its record. We’re not underestimating what Orlando is capable of by any means.”
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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