OL Reign are punished by Houston
Traveling to Houston in a challenging context due to the resignation, a few hours earlier, of head coach Farid Benstiti, OL Reign also saw the kickoff of their 8th NWSL game delayed by an hour due to severe bad weather which hit the Texan city this Friday in the United States.
Sitting in for the Frenchman on the bench, former assistant Sam Laity decided to play Kristen McNabb in central defense in place of Samantha Hiatt, while Dani Weatherholt and Bethany Balcer started with Rebecca Quinn (Canada) and Megan Rapinoe (USA) ) taking part in the Olympics. Absent for several matches due to an ankle injury, Rose Lavelle was also missing having been selected for Team USA as part of their preparation for the Tokyo Olympics in three weeks.
A conquering spirit in the first half
Gathered in a circle before kick-off, the Reign players showed their desire to bounce back after a difficult defeat at Cheney Stadium last weekend against Gotham FC (0-3). And if it was the Houston Dash players who were going to have the first efforts of the match on the goal of Sarah Bouhaddi (5th), it was "The Bold" who set the pace and kept out 100% of the shots she faced (4/4) in a first half that was open and easy on the eye. But Campbell, the Texan goalkeeper, also did well on a shot from Balcer (13th) before making a decisive double stop against Le Sommer and Huerta (24th).
Looking much more up to the task than during its last outing, the American franchise of OL showed in the first forty-five minutes a conquering face in spite of the opposition's pressing, evincing a will to win their duels and also some promising attacking sequences. This is what was needed to try to destabilize a formation which had just offered beaten league leaders Orlando Pride (2-1) and which was undefeated at BBVA Stadium in the last nine matches.
A nightmarish start to the second half...
Caught again by their old demons, OL Reign was once more going to miss a chance as soon as they returned from the locker room as Huerta, unmarked at the far post after a low cross from right to left failed to finish from six meters (49th). This lack of finishing was unfortunately paid for heavily just a minute later. Getting in behind the Reign defense Spencer would calmly control and beat Bouhaddi with a low shot across goal (50th).
The opening of the score by the hosts really was a hammer blow to Fishlock and her teammates. On a free kick, they then conceded once more, a headed goal by Katie Naughton (57th).
Eugénie Le Sommer finishes the match leading the line
Like Farid Benstiti the previous week, Sam Laity decided to make a triple change in the 65th minute by bringing off captain Fishlock as well as her forwards, Balcer and Marozsán, with Eugenie Le Sommer thus ending the meeting in tip. But the player on loan from Olympique Lyonnais did not find herself in a good position to score a first goal in the United States; with a deficit of two goals on the scoreboard, OL Reign failed to find the resources to reduce the gap and thus put pressure on their opponent in the last quarter of an hour.
While the NWSL teams have not all played the same number of matches, the American franchise of Olympique Lyonnais remains 9th out of 10 before a visit (Monday, July 12, 1am) from bottom side Kansas City.
Campbell, Naughton, Prisock (Fields, 60'), Oyster, Hanson, Schmidt, Groom, Seiler, Spencer (Alozie, 68'), Gomera-Stevens (Ogle, 68'), Latsko (Rosa, 90+3')
Bouhaddi, Hammond (George, 82'), McNabb, Cook, Jiménez (Barnes, 57'), Weatherholt, Fishlock (Cruz, 65'), Huerta, Balcer (King, 65'), Le Sommer, Marozsán (Angelina, 65')