OL Reign returns from the international break in style

After a week off for the international break, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)
returned last weekend for matchday 12 of 20.

One of the original eight teams in the NWSL, the OL (formerly Seattle) Reign has maintained a
steady presence among the league’s most successful clubs since its founding in 2012. The Reign
peaked in 2014 and 2015 when they finished with the best regular season record, but lost in the
championship game both years. They entered the second half of the 2022 season smack in the
middle of the league’s standings.


RECENT CHANGES

This is the Reign’s first year playing at Lumen Stadium after their new stadium development in
Tacoma fell through. Laura Harvey is in her second-stint as the Reign’s manager. She previously
stepped down in 2017 after the team missed the playoffs that year and the year before. The Reign
recently strengthened their squad by trading for USA international forward Tobin Heath from
fellow NWSL squad Racing Louisville FC, and signing Canadian international forward Jordyn
Huitema on a transfer from Paris St. Germain.

These two attackers joined a loaded roster of players, most notably Heath’s international teammates Reign captain Megan Rapinoe and midfielder Rose Lavelle.


OFF TO A GREAT START


The Reign began their second-half ascent on a positive note. July 31, they scored three goals in
the second half to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 victory at Angel City FC. The come-from-behind
the victory was the club’s first road win this season. It moved them into a tie for fourth place with
the Chicago Red Stars as both teams now have 20 points.

Cari Roccaro scored her first league goal in the eighth minute to give Angel City an early lead. The hosts then doubled their lead in the 27th minute when Savannah McCaskill successfully converted a penalty kick. As the first half went on, the visitors started getting more goal-scoring opportunities. Right before halftime, Angel City’s goalkeeper DiDi Haracic saved Kim Little’s penalty kick to preserve the shutout.

MOMENTUM SHIFT


Momentum completely shifted to the visitors in the second half of the match. Jess Fishlock got
her team on the board in the 52nd minute with a well-placed shot into the right corner. Then, in
the 84th minute, Sofia Huerta equalized for the Reign, thundering a strike into the net off of a
corner kick.

Yet, the Reign was not content with a tie. In the 89th minute, substitute Heath
introduced herself to the Reign’s supporters scoring the dramatic game-winning goal with a shot
between the keeper’s legs.


Two days later, the Reign was held to a 1-1 draw at Racing Louisville FC. They peppered their
opponents’ goal early and often, holding a massive advantage in shots and shots on goal at the
end of the game.

Fishlock scored in the 2nd minute, striking the ball into the goal after receiving
it from Rapinoe’s corner kick. It marked her second straight game with a goal and the team’s
fastest goal of the season. Louisville’s goalkeeper Katie Lund made 12 saves, keeping her team’s
deficit at 1. Forward Kirsten Davis scored Louisville’s equalizing goal just before halftime
through a strike from 20 yards out that got past Reign goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce.

Although the Reign continued to dominate in the second half, they spurned countless opportunities in
the search of the game-winning goal.
The Reign moved into sole possession of fourth place ahead of their home match on August 7 vs.
the Houston Dash

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