Reign FC Rundown vs. Sky Blue FC
The fifth match of the season is here and marks the third time this season that Reign FC will travel across the country. While it’s always a tough task to the leave the confines of the Emerald City, Seattle has the momentum from last Saturday’s home victory on their side. Here’s what to be on the lookout for in good ole’ Piscataway, N.J. come Saturday.
Sky Blue FC started the season with a win over FC Kansas City on the road and a tie against the Houston Dash at home. Since those matches, they have suffered back-to-back losses: a home defeat against Washington Spirit and a road loss to the Chicago Red Stars. Now they return home, hungry as ever to turn the tide and get back in the winning column.
Reign FC, on the other hand, has managed to grab six out of six points at home, but those pesky road points have eluded them thus far. After dropping a stoppage-time loss in Chicago and a close one-nil defeat in Kansas City, Reign FC will look to tally their first three road points of the year against Sky Blue.
Finding the Net
Through four matches, Sky Blue FC have scored a total of just three goals with two coming from the feet of midfielder Katy Freels and one from forward Nadia Nadim. As per usual, this game will be a battle in the midfield, and will put a tremendous amount of pressure on the Sky Blue offense. However, if Nadim, Freels, Maya Hayes and No. 2 overall draft pick Sarah Killion can get on the same page, more goals are right around the corner.
On the other end of the spectrum, Reign FC lead the league in goals scored with 10, and five players have found the back of the net so far this season. While Kim Little has yet to score through the first four matches, the midfielder has played a critical role in the Reign FC attack. She currently leads the league with three assists and is in the top-10 for shots taken.
As awareness of Little’s talent and skill grows throughout the league, coaches are tasking their midfields and defenses to shut her down. While this heavy coverage has prevented her from finding the net, it does create more space and goal-scoring opportunities for the players around her.
World Cup Woes
Last week had some World Cup Woes, and this week is no exception. Until the World Cup finishes up in July, teams around NWSL will be without key players from their starting line-ups.
Reign FC misses Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe — partly because they’re absolute gems — but also because they’re really good at soccer. Laura Harvey’s squad, however, showed its depth on Saturday as Haley Kopmeyer stepped up between the posts and made four saves on the night to preserve all three points for the home side. Harvey also slotted Kiersten Dallstream into the lineup and the forward worked well down the line with Little and the overlapping work of defender Elli Reed.
As one can see, this “World Cup Woes” section isn’t really about Reign FC. Sky Blue FC is arguably one of the most affected teams by the Women’s World Cup, as absences are present throughout numerous positions. With internationals from the U.S. (Defenders Kelly O’Hara and Christine Rampone), Australia (Defender Caitlin Foord and forward Samantha Kerr), and Mexico (forward Monica Ocampo) all missing action until July, there are some serious shoes to fill.
Nadim and Freels have done well to find the back of the net, but they may need some additional help from Hayes, and the rookie Killion to consistently piece together a dangerous attack and weather the absences of their international players until July.
All in all, if Reign FC can put together a solid performance much like its victory at home against a streaking Washington Spirit, they will come away from New Jersey with those ever-elusive road points.
To catch all the action as Reign FC takes on Sky Blue FC on Saturday, tune into the live stream here. Fans can also download the official, free Reign FC app to watch every match home and away live via YouTube on the iPhone.
Published by Seattle Reign FC