The Orlando Pride (5-9-7, 22 points) end their 2022 NWSL tonight when they travel to Seattle to take on OL Reign (10-4-7, 37 points). This is the second time the two teams will face off this season and the final game of the regular season for both teams.
Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s game.
The Pride and Reign have met 13 times since the Pride joined the league in 2016. The Pride hold a 1-5-7 record in those meetings. The Pride have yet to win against the Reign on the west coast, going 0-3-3 in their first six games in Washington.
The teams played for the first time this season on Aug. 26 in Orlando. Meggie Dougherty Howard gave the hosts the lead in the 37th minute. The Pride tried to hold onto that one-goal advantage but Megan Rapinoe found Bethany Balcer in the 54th minute for an equalizing header. The visitors pushed for a win and Rapinoe got a goal for herself two minutes into second half injury time, lifting the Reign to a 2-1 win, snapping Orlando’s seven-match unbeaten run.
The teams played twice during the 2021 season and the first game was on July 24 in Orlando. The Reign scored a goal in each half with Jess Fishlock scoring in the 10th minute and Tziarra King doubling the lead in the 51st minute on the way to a 2-0 win. On Sept. 26 in Tacoma, WA, Balcer opened the scoring in the third minute and Eugenie Le Sommer scored in the 28th and 32nd minutes, giving the Reign a 3-0 lead at halftime, ultimately beating the Pride by that score.
COVID canceled the teams’ meetings in 2020 but they played three times in 2019. On April 21 in Tacoma, Alanna Kennedy gave the Pride a sixth-minute lead. But Balcer equalized in the 21st minute and the teams drew 1-1. They met again on Sept. 7 in the same location. This time the Reign took the early lead as Darian Jenkins — then with the Reign but now with the Pride — scored in the third and 12th minutes. Beverly Yanez made it 3-0 in the 17th minute, effectively putting the game away early. Camila converted a late penalty but the Reign won 3-1. The final meeting that year came on Oct. 12 in Orlando. The Pride scored first when Rachel Hill scored in the 24th minute. But Jenkins and Jodie Taylor gave the visitors a 2-1 lead going into halftime. Marta equalized in the 86th minute and the teams drew 2-2.
The first meeting in 2018 came on April 28 in Orlando. Allie Long gave the Reign the lead in the 33rd minute but Marta equalized in the 61st, resulting in a 1-1 draw. On June 3, the teams met in Seattle but neither team could find the back of the net as they ended in a scoreless draw. The final meeting that year was on July 21 in Orlando. Toni Pressley gave the Pride a first-half lead but Taylor equalized with 20 minutes remaining and the teams drew for the third time that year.
The 2017 season saw the Pride and Reign play twice, first meeting on May 21 in Seattle. Yanez gave the hosts the lead just before halftime but Marta scored just after the break and the teams drew 1-1. They met again on Sept. 7 in Orlando in a game that looked to be ending scoreless but took a surprising turn. Alex Morgan gave the Pride the late lead in second-half injury time, but Fishlock equalized two minutes later and they drew 1-1.
The first-ever meeting between the two teams occurred on May 8, 2016 in Orlando. Sarah Hagen gave the Pride an 11th-minute lead and Lianne Sanderson made it 2-0 in the 87th minute, which would be the final. The return game in Seattle was on July 23 and was the highest-scoring game between the two teams. Kim Little and Fishlock made it 2-0 Reign at halftime. Manon Melis scored a third for the hosts in the 47th minute, appearing to put the game out of reach. Jasmyne Spencer scored in the 52nd minute but Kendall Fletcher made it 4-1 four minutes later. A Pressley own goal and late strike by Kristen Edmonds added one more goal to each team’s tally in a 5-2 Reign win.
The Pride enter this game out of playoff contention but looking to end the season on a high note. The team went unbeaten in seven games before the 2-1 loss to the Reign earlier this year, the beginning of a four-game losing streak. They took a 2-0 lead over San Diego last weekend, but the league newcomers came back to claim a 2-2 draw. As a result, the Pride extended their winless streak to five games.
Despite the current run of form, it’s been a decent season for the Pride. The team is still in the early stages of a complete rebuild. Orlando was expected to be the worst team in the league this season but can’t finish any lower than 10th in the 12-team league. A good result in Seattle will see the Pride finish ninth.
However, standing in the way of a strong finish is one of the best teams in the league. The Reign were hovering around the playoff line before getting hot late in the season. The team has won five of its last six games dating back to Aug. 14 and is on a six-game point streak. The Reign come into this game on a three-game winning streak, defeating the North Carolina Courage, NJ/NY Gotham FC, and the Houston Dash. More impressive is that all three of those games were away from home.
The Reign have been led by the two players that beat the Pride earlier this season. Balcer and Rapinoe both have scored a team-high six goals this season. Just behind are Rose Lavelle, with five, and Jess Fishlock, with four goals on the year.
Despite those goal totals, the Reign have only scored 29 goals this season. The defensive unit is what has them second in the league, as they’ve conceded just 19 goals this year, the lowest in the league. The strength for the Reign has been the defensive unit of Lauren Barnes, Sam Hiatt, Alana Cook, and Sofia Huerta in front of goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce.
“(It will be) a competitive game. We know what to expect with the way that (the Reign) play. We experienced it not long ago at our own stadium,” Interim Head Coach Seb Hines said. “It’ll be a tough game, another challenge for us and something that we can build from our last game with San Diego. We want to continue to play the way that we want to play and there’s no better way to do it than at Seattle.”
The Pride will be missing seven players for this game, including Marta (knee), Viviana Villacorta (ankle), Caitlin Cosme (knee), Chelsee Washington (ankle), Kaylie Collins (wrist), Parker Roberts (COVID protocol), and Ally Watt (wrist). Additionally, Mikayla Cluff (ankle) is listed as questionable.
The Reign have four players out and all are on the season-ending injury list. Those missing for tonight’s game include Angelina (knee), Tobin Heath (knee), Sinclaire Miramontez (foot), and Jodi Ulkekul (knee).
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Erin McLeod.
Defenders: Courtney Petersen, Carrie Lawrence, Toni Pressley, Kylie Strom.
Defensive Midfielders: Megan Montefusco, Haley Hanson.
Attacking Midfielders: Gunny Jonsdottir, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Darian Jenkins.
Forward: Leah Pruitt.
Bench: Anna Moorhouse, Celia, Kerry Abello, Haley Bugeja, Jordyn Listro, Julie Doyle, Thais Reiss, Erika Tymrak.
OL Reign (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Phallon Tullis-Joyce.
Defenders: Lauren Barnes, Sam Hiatt, Alana Cook, Phoebe McClernon.
Defensive Midfielders: Jess Fishlock, Quinn.
Attacking Midfielders: Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, Jordyn Huitema.
Forwards: Bethany Balcer.
Bench: Olivia Athens, Marley Canales, Sofia Huerta, Laurel Ivory, Tziarra King, Veronica Latsko, Jimena Lopez, Nikki Stanton, Olivia Van der Jagt.
REF: Ekaterina Koroleva.
AR1: Katarzyna Wasiak.
AR2: Kali Smith.
4TH: Kelsey Harms.
How to Watch
Match Time: 10 p.m.
Venue: Lumen Field — Seattle, WA.
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!