Reign Wins at Lumen Stadium
The night of May 26, 2022, saw a matchup between OL Reign and the Kansas City Current at Lumen Field in Seattle Washington. Neither team had managed to grab a win so far in the regular 2022 NWSL season so both sides were hungry to take home 3 points. The match ended 1-0 in favor of OL Reign re-asserting just how fantastic their team can be under pressure.
The game was defined by a dominance from Reign that began in the very first minutes of the game with a shot from Rose Lavelle that was saved by AD Franch. While the Current left the matchup with a loss, this save began a series of impeccable saves from Franch throughout the game, displaying just how strategic and dominant she can be when facing an attacking team like OL Reign. Kansas City Current forward Elyse Bennett saw some action in the 4th minute with a terrific run towards Reign’s penalty box but was eventually cleared.
On the Reign’s side of things during the first half, a remarkable offensive player was Tziarra King who in the 8th minute gave some great service to Veronica Latsko in the box that just missed. King’s performance during this game cannot be understated, as this only began a series of attacks and set pieces that defined Reign’s attacking presence on the field and fed their growing energy.
In the 11th minute, the Current had a freekick from Alexis Loera who skied the shot just over the top crossbar. Reign was unable to fully clear the ball after that set-piece, giving Katie Hamilton a chance to shoot but it didn’t amount to a goal. In the 13th minute, a shot from a distance from King almost gave Reign their first point of the match but was just off. King saw some more action in the 17th minute off an amazing cross from Sofia Huerta but it was tracked and cleared by KC’s Maddie Nolf. In the same minute, King tried for another shot but it bounced right to Franch’s gloves. It became clear at this point that while Reign was dominating the field, Nolf had read their integral Huerta-to-King connection and was able to defend more fully in that back post, taking away some scoring opportunities.
In the 20th minute, the match saw a run from the Current’s Kate Del Fava but she was shut down by Huerta. In the 22nd minute, the game got very exciting as Huerta connected a pass to King, causing Franch to step off her line. Jess Fishlock tried to get a shot in but was expertly denied by Jenna Winebrenner. Contributing to this play was some impressive pressing from Latsko that upped the tension.
In the 28th and 29th minutes Huerta, Lavelle, and Latsko tried to shoot but the first two were defended and Latsko’s shot was too wide. In the 31st minute, the Current’s Elizabeth Ball showed some incredible defending that helped KC maintain that scoreless draw even when they were without possession. Angelina went for a shot in the 35th minute and Franch yet again shut it down. Following that was a great header from King and another shot from Lavelle that Franch saved.
In the 44th minute, the Current went for a late half goal with a run from Bennett that was interrupted by some world-class defending from Alana Cook. The half ended with a great save from Reign’s Phallon Tullis-Joyce off a Current corner kick and the match went into halftime scoreless.
The second half was immediately physical and incredibly energetic from both sides. In the 54th minute, the Current had another great run that was saved once again by Tullis-Joyce. In the 61st minute, Reign amped up their defense with some clearing from Cook once again. Del Fava tried for a shot in the 63rd minute but it went just over the net. In the 67th minute, Bennett showed the audience a quick and seamless run that was unfortunately not completed. In the 76th minute, Franch once again saved a shot, this time from Fishlock.
The game saw an incredible moment in the 79th minute with a Huerta-to-Bethany Balcer connection that led to a header from Balcer and gave Reign the only goal in the game. With phenomenal service from Huerta and an amazing finish from Balcer, Reign picked up their confidence. Starting at the 81st minute there was a series of shots by Fishlock, Lavelle, and Rapinoe that were saved by Franch.
The last chance Reign had to bring the score up was in the 93rd minute when Ally Watt of OL Reign had a great run down the right side but didn’t have the numbers to cross. The game ended in a 1-0 win for OL Reign.
The game was overall a solid matchup between the two teams. While Reign dominated most of the match, KC held their own defensively for a majority of the match, especially with a great performance from Franch. OL Reign will play again on May 29, 2022, against the San Diego Wave and the Kansas City Current will move on to play on May 30, 2022, against Racing Louisville.