Week two of the National Women's Soccer League concluded with Reign FC hosting the Orlando Pride at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington. An attendance of 5,323 fans came out to Cheney Stadium to see Reign FC in their first match at their new home. Orlando Pride defender Alanna Kennedy would put a temporary damper on the evening with a spectacular goal in the sixth minute. Reign FC rookie Bethany Balcer would equalize in the 21st minute for her first professional goal. Reign FC and Orlando Pride were unable to find the go ahead goal and had to settle for a the 1-1 draw.
Kennedy’s sensational bicycle
Orlando Pride midfielder and Australian international Emily van Egmond sustained a foul on the left wing in the attacking half leading to a free kick. Van Egmond sent the free kick to the right side of the box where a Reign FC defender got a head to it before it found forward Alex Morgan. Kennedy followed the attempted clearance and volleyed a right footed bicycle shot from the center of the box out of the reach of Reign FC goalkeeper Michelle Betos to the bottom left corner of the net. The sixth minute goal would be the first of the season for the Orlando Pride after failing to score in their first two matches.
Balcer first career goal
Rookie forward Bethany Balcer came into Reign FC preseason camp as a undrafted non-roster invitee and earned an supplemental roster spot. Balcer made her debut last week as a substitute against the Houston Dash logging over six minutes. Sunday Balcer earned her first start in Reign FC midfield. In the 21st minute, the Orlando Pride defense failed to clear the ball from danger and Balcer took advantage. Balcer found the ball at the top left side of the box and fired a curler to the bottom right corner of the net beating Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.
Pride goalkeeper Harris was busy throughout the match as Reign FC won the possession battle and created most of the chances. Shea Groom had a chance after she blocked a Harris clearance but Groom could not get to the ball as it rolled out the endline. Allie Long had a chance from a set piece but Harris was able to shoulder it away. Rumi Utsugi had a chance to score in the second half but Harris was better pushing the ball wide with her right hand. Reign goalkeeper Betos was busy as Orlando came on late in the match. Betos was forced to make a superwomen like save on Orlando Pride superstar Marta's shot that was headed to the upper left corner. On the season, Reign FC have two draws in their first two matches while this was the first point of the season for the Pride.
Next on the schedule
Reign FC substitutions: Dallstream min. 78 (Balcer), Nielson min. 83 (Celia), Andrews min 90 (Utsugi)
Orlando Pride substitutions: Obogagu min. 63 (Camila), Edmonds min. 78 (Hill)
Yellow Card: van Egmond min 58, Taylor min 73, Morgan min 90+3