OL Reign vs. Washington Spirit II. 2 Spirit 2 Reign. Reign Spirit: Part Deux. Reign Spirit 2: Electric Boogaloo. Spirit v. Reign and the Chamber of Secrets. For the second time in three days the Washington Spirit will face OL Reign. This time it will be in the semifinal round of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup.
Though Reign are based in Seattle, they’ve been hanging out in D.C. for a while thanks to the unique (read: forehead-slappingly unfortunate) nature of NWSL scheduling. Reign finished above the Spirit, who slid into the semifinals via a wild card slot after Angel City FC defeated Portland Thorns in the final group stage game of the tournament.
For, reasons, the NWSL scheduled this match without considering that one of last year’s playoff semifinalists in a group with two expansion teams (Angel City FC and San Diego Wave) might win enough games to host a tournament. Perhaps they also didn’t count on the Seattle Sounders, who share Lumen Field with Reign, making it to the final of the CONCACAF Champions League as well, and well, fair enough I guess. But as a result, Reign are “hosting” the Washington Spirit, at Audi Field, a stadium nearly 3,000 miles away from Lumen Field.
Location: Audi Field (Washington, DC)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
Referee: Greg Dopka
Available TV: CBS Sports Network
Available streaming: Twitch (international excluding Canada, sorry Canadian friends)
OL Reign team news: The big news here is that OL Reign’s availability report read ‘None’ in every category. As in, all players are theoretically available. As in no injuries. As in one specific player with brightly-colored hair who has been nursing a calf injury might be ready to notch her first minutes of the season.
The boost would help, as by now Reign are surely fully fed up of losing to the Washington Spirit. Washington beat them in last year’s playoff semifinals en route to winning their first ever NWSL championship, and three days ago an early penalty and 53rd minute goal wasn’t enough to avoid another defeat.
In fact, in matches that have been played (read: barring last season’s COVID protocol forfeit) OL Reign’s last result against Washington was a 2-2 draw in September of 2019. Since that draw their record is 0-0-4 versus Washington, with just two goals scored and seven conceded.
Washington Spirit team news: HE IS RISEN. We welcome back our site father for a Spirit availability report.
Notably, Emily Sonnett, Kelley O’Hara, Jordan Baggett, Bayley Feist and Dorian Bailey’s names don’t appear, which is fantastic news. However, USWNT midfielder Andi Sullivan still isn’t fully recovered from her calf injury.
With players returning to full health, and others like Taylor Aylmer, Morgan Goff, Camryn Biegalski and Anna Heilferty getting more familiar with the system and putting in key performances, the team is already adding a level of depth that wasn’t available last season.
Let’s keep the party goin...