Reign FC pick up their first home win against Sky Blue FC

Just over 3,000 fans at Cheney Stadium witnessed Reign FC get their first win of the season, and it came at the expense of Sky Blue FC. Jodi Taylor got the winning goal for the hosts after Raquel Rodriguez had put Sky Blue ahead early on in the game.

The Reign are now in seventh, four points above Sky Blue and with a game in hand over most of the other teams in the National Women's Soccer League.

Sky Blue keep the game close in the first half

The first half saw both teams trade chances as they looked to pick up their first three points of the season. After some early pressure, it was Sky Blue that took the lead through Rodriguez. As Reign FC was looking to play the ball out from the back through Lauren Barnes, her pass was intercepted by Savannah McCaskill who found Sarah Killion out wide. Killon placed a one-time cross to the far post and Rodriguez was on hand to give Sky Blue the lead in the 10th minute.

The lead did not last long however as two minutes later, the Reign were back on level terms. Theresa Nielsen sent in a corner that was met by Darian Jenkins. Jenkins nodded the ball towards goal and Julie James ended up getting the last touch, making it an own goal by the midfielder. Both teams continued to push for a goal and Shea Groom came the closest in the 20th minute when her effort came off the far post. The rest of the chances were well saved by both Michelle Betos and DiDi Haracic in goal for both the Reign and Sky Blue respectively.

Haracic battles for the ball during a set piece | Source:
Haracic battles for the ball during a set piece | Source:

Reign FC find another gear in the second half

After being matched step-for-step in the first half by Sky Blue, the hosts came into the second half with more intention and proceeded to dominate the rest of the match. The first sighting of goal came in the 46th minute when Jenkins got forward, cut inside onto her right foot and forced Haracic to make a save at her near post. Although they could not find the back of the net when they did open up Sky Blue, the Reign kept the majority of the possession and continued to probe at the Sky Blue backline.

The dominance finally paid dividends in the 78th minute of the match. Some good movement and passing allowed Groom to get to the byline and her cross found substitute Bethany Balcer at the far post. Her effort was parried by Haracic but Jodi Taylor was in the right spot to knock the rebound home from close range. The Reign were made to sweat a little at the end of the game as Michelle Betos had to go off with an injury, and as they had run out of substitutes, Morgan Andrews had to fill in as goalkeeper in stoppage time. Andrews was not troubled much by Sky Blue in those final minutes and the Reign were able to get a much-needed win at home.