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Breaking On the Wave Version


It has been practically two weeks because the San Diego Wave obtained their first ever win towards the Seattle Reign. I took an extended stroll, head down, dejected like Michael Cera in one among his early roles. I confided my soul-deep disappointment within the cats. I obtained dumplings from the wonderful dumpling spot down the road. And, finally, I obtained to rewatching the sport analytically, anticipating a slog.

Whereas it is small consolation, the Reign have been largely positive, for many of the match, whereas down a pair key gamers and (per membership accounts) coping with the aftermath of a nasty outbreak of respiratory sickness. They have been a bit (so much) boring, a bit (so much) uninspiring, however adequate for a degree for 95 minutes. After which, with a decided Wave assault coming in (natch) waves, and an exhausted Reign with nothing left to provide scrambling to carry out these jiffy longer, they weren’t adequate to choose one up for the final 5.

There have been positives to go along with the negatives, and there is loads of upside on this group, however the targets have to begin coming from someplace, and the outcomes have to begin coming from someplace. The Reign have had few – if any – genuinely dangerous showings from any gamers, but they discover themselves on simply 3 factors in 3 video games, constantly wanting for somebody to do one thing particular.


Claudia Dickey – 7 (POTM)

On a tough night time for your complete squad, Claudia Dickey was ceaselessly fairly good. She made 4 saves, two of them early, excessive issue stops – an monumental save within the eighth minute towards Alex Morgan, and once more within the twenty seventh minute towards Jaedyn Shaw – that on one other night time may’ve been recreation altering. She confirmed enchancment in her distribution, and good communication along with her again line. A fortieth minute move straight up the center into strain was ill-advised, and Savannah McCaskill instantly turned it right into a shot again at Dickey’s aim, however it was not a very threatening one, coated by the protection, and blocked out.

Except for that hiccup, Claudia scarcely put one other foot fallacious. Deep in stoppage time, the Reign surrendered a sequence of excellent possibilities. Two discovered the again of the online. A kind of was deemed to be a very good aim. Dickey was screened on the play, the Reign have been disorganized, disassembled, and exhausted, and there was little she may have performed to vary the end result.

Going Ahead: Regardless of the outcome, this was Dickey’s greatest outing on the season. She made a few the massive saves that went wanting in her prior match, recovered nicely from her solely actual mistake, and is exhibiting extra command and extra consolation on the ball each week. The Reign have been blessed with a surfeit of plus goalkeepers over time – from Hope Solo to Haley Kopmeyer to Lydia Williams to Sarah Bouhaddi to Phallon Tullis-Joyce – and Claudia Dickey seems to be well-positioned to maintain the Reign aim safe for the seasons to return.


Lily Woodham – 6 (off 76′ for Ryanne Brown)

Much less defensively concerned however exhibiting a considerably better option of move and particularly a greater contact on her crosses than prior weeks, Lily Woodham turned in a serviceable however unspectacular efficiency. She was overwhelmed by Sofia Jakobsson on the twenty seventh minute sequence that led to the Wave’s third-best probability of the night, however in any other case was not often examined defensively. She discovered Bethany Balcer’s golden head in a very good place within the thirtieth minute, however it wound up a reasonably routine save for Kailen Sheridan.

Going Ahead: Having a real crossing menace from each exterior backs will go a good distance in direction of answering the Reign’s offensive struggles, however it’s not there but. Woodham nonetheless must develop chemistry with the remainder of the group.

Lauren Barnes – 6

The Reign performed a conservative formation and a conservative recreation plan, and Lauren Barnes noticed loads of the ball (with 65 touches, the third most on the group), was characteristically lively defensively (with 3 clearances, 3 recoveries, a blocked shot, and an interception), and competently shepherded a protection that, for 90+ minutes, held a harmful Wave assault to few alternatives, fewer good alternatives, and loads of frustration.

Within the waning minutes of stoppage time, with your complete facet flagging and the Wave coming onerous, Seattle wanted any person to step up and make a play. No person may, and Lauren Barnes was sluggish to react and will solely watch as Emily van Egmond slotted the ball previous Claudia Dickey.

Going Ahead: Look, everyone knows what Lu provides. She nonetheless provides it at a excessive stage. With Alana Cook dinner, Phoebe McClernon, Shae Holmes, and Julia Lester on the roster and getting wholesome, she’ll seemingly have extra appearances off the bench than we’re accustomed to, however Lu’s obtained the standard and expertise to be an asset for years to return.

Phoebe McClernon – 6 (off 58′ for Alana Cook dinner)

The Reign performed a conservative formation and a conservative recreation plan, and Phoebe McClernon was the much less lively of the beginning centerbacks, however typically selected the best move, closed off harmful central passing and capturing lanes, and helped the Reign suffocate the hazard in the course of the pitch. As was the theme on the night time, she was strong however unspectacular earlier than subbing off for the long-anticipated return of Alana Cook dinner.

Going Ahead: McClernon has an enormous function to play on this group, as a multi-position defender with good restoration pace, good ball abilities, and good instincts. With Alana Cook dinner returning, the Reign could have 5 starting-quality middle backs for 2 beginning positions, however McClernon ought to be ceaselessly amongst these two.

Sofia Huerta – 6

As soon as once more, Huerta discovered a ton of house and noticed a ton of the ball. She was second on the group for touches (69), and confirmed some long-awaited indicators of life from her mandatory crossing. She discovered Ji So-yun in good positions within the thirty eighth and forty fifth minutes, discovered Jordyn Huitema within the forty eighth, and located Olivia van der Jagt within the sixtieth, and whereas none of those possibilities changed into gilt-edged alternatives, her 4 shot-creating actions led the group, and she or he’s exhibiting extra connection and confidence in her passing. She paired that with an enormous sort out, an interception, two blocks, three clearances, and 5 recoveries in a strong two-way efficiency.

If it weren’t for the final 5 minutes, Huerta would’ve been an essential piece of a hard-fought 0-0 draw on the highway. Sadly, in these final 5 minutes, a fading Huerta backed off of the ball, missed the chance to shut on both of the potential shooters, and screened her personal goalkeeper because the exhausted Reign could not muster themselves to defend one final Wave onslaught.

Going Ahead: Huerta discovering Ji and Huitema in good positions is important if the Reign need to remedy their offensive woes. We noticed a bit little bit of life, and hopefully it is a signal of extra to return. There’s 23 video games nonetheless to play, and we’ll want Sofia to be at her deadly, early-crossing greatest, as NWSL campaigns seldom get simpler as they mature.


Olivia van der Jagt – 7

Taking part in because the defensive basis of a midfield sq. with Angharad James-Turner, Olivia van der Jagt was the important thing engine of a defensive construction that largely smothered the Wave for 97 minutes. Whereas her passing left so much to be desired, with a quite dire 23 of 41 passes accomplished, she was a relentless destroyer of buildups for the house facet, racking up three clearances, three interceptions, three blocks, and a giant defensive sort out received. San Diego had one huge alternative early within the recreation, after which discovered themselves snatching for scraps for practically ninety minutes (earlier than the Reign, sadly, folded late), and Olo was emblematic of their offensive struggles on the night time.

Sadly, like many of the group, Olo light late in stoppage time, and her onerous defensive run in the end took her out of the chaotic play that ended with van Egmond’s recreation successful aim. After a scrappy defensive efficiency that earns a degree on most nights, the glue got here undone because the final minutes ticked away.

Going Ahead: Olo covers an enormous quantity of floor, is completely wonderful within the air, and reads hazard extraordinarily nicely. Requested to step in for Quinn, she crammed the midfield destroyer function admirably. We should always have few issues about her defensive chops, however she nonetheless struggles to search out house and discover the straightforward move in possession, and may typically be punished for it.

Angharad James-Turner – 7 (off 89′ for Nikki Stanton)

Taking part in because the defensive basis of a midfield sq. with Olivia van der Jagt, Angharad James-Turner turned in the most effective efficiency but of her brief Reign profession, serving to anchor a again six that hemmed in a harmful Wave assault for 90 minutes, severely limiting their possibilities and doing what ought to have been sufficient to stroll out of Snapdragon with a degree. Tasked to be extra of a facilitator than her companion, Haz responded with wonderful selection of move, together with finishing 4 of 4 lengthy balls and a team-leading 6 passes into the ultimate third, whereas retaining the grit and sandpaper she’s proven on full show and calmly successful and retaining possession in the course of the pitch when the Reign wanted it.

There’s not so much to nitpick, however she was caught ball-watching after a very good restoration run on Jaedyn Shaw’s twenty sixth minute probability. Nothing got here of it, however caught between the crosser and the shooter, she efficiently defended neither, an issue that is popped up for the Reign a few occasions this season.

Going Ahead: Based mostly on her physique of labor to this point, we ought to be very snug with James-Turner as a holding midfielder, as she’s proven the power to be each a plus destroyer and a plus facilitator throughout three video games. The Reign have some issues to work out, however her place will not be on the record.

Olivia Athens – 6 (off 76′ for Tziarra King)

With the group set as much as defend first and grind out a outcome second, Olivia Athens spelled the lacking Jess Fishlock and did mainly what she ought to have been anticipated to do. A part of a entrance 4 that wasn’t actually clicking, she had some notable spells of fine play, discovering Lily Woodham within the thirtieth minute to begin the sequence for the Reign’s second greatest scoring probability, constantly retaining possession with brief, secure passes (on which she was 13 of 13) to search out Ji, Woodham, and Huerta, and delivering a pair onerous tackles to assist defend from the entrance.

It wasn’t a classic efficiency, however it was a strong and workmanlike one.

Going Ahead: Athens is an effective passer and an awesome tackler, however she does not provide the creativity or imaginative and prescient of a Fishlock or Ji. She will be able to actually shine in a box-to-box function. She most likely should not be counted on to unravel for the Reign’s score-a-damn-goal downside.

Ji So-yun – 6

As soon as once more, Ji So-yun was the offensive standout for the Reign, however on an evening the place the Reign threatened this little, that is not essentially saying so much. With 72 touches and her ordinary crisp, clear, constantly progressive passing, Ji spent loads of time on the ball, and on these events the place the Reign did make a bit noise going ahead, she was typically proper in the course of it, however with a way more conservative method, and missing the supporting creativity of Jess Fishlock’s passing and working, Ji was unable to stamp her signature onto the match. She did have a very good probability blocked within the 88th minute, a… extremely speculative probability blocked within the thirty eighth minute, and she or he put Tziarra King in on aim late in second-half stoppage.

Counting on Ji to provide jaw-dropping magic – succesful although she could also be – is not a sustainable mannequin for offensive manufacturing.

Going Ahead: When the Reign look good, Ji is on the middle of nearly every thing good they do. When the Reign do not look good, Ji is… nonetheless on the middle of nearly every thing good they do. It wasn’t her greatest outing, however she nonetheless managed to scratch an opportunity out of nothing greater than as soon as.


Bethany Balcer – 5 (off 89′ for Emeri Adames)

Within the thirtieth minute, Bethany Balcer had the Reign’s first shot of the night time, a headed effort that was most likely much less harmful than it appeared (and it did not look all that harmful), however which no less than confirmed some rising connection between her and left again Lily Woodham. Within the thirty ninth minute, she took a speculative shot from distance that was confidently blocked and got here to nothing. Within the 88th minute, she had arguably the Reign’s greatest probability on the night time, gathering Ji So-yun’s rebound and taking a shot of her personal, which she didn’t carry on body. She wasn’t dangerous, and like strike companion Jordyn Huitema, she tracked again nicely and turned in some strong defensive performs, together with two tackles received and three clearances.

With the Reign hurting for targets, they should do extra with the scoring possibilities they’ve. The dedication to defending from the entrance is nice and priceless, however the targets want to return in no less than a trickle, and we would like Balcer’s huge contributions to return within the attacking third way more ceaselessly.

Going Ahead: Balcer is arguably the most effective striker on the group, and we all know she will rating targets in quite a lot of methods. The Reign have to this point struggled to get her clear-cut possibilities, and she or he and Huitema haven’t at all times mixed nicely in a two-forward setup. Boats could be the most effective guess on the group to step up and get a rattling aim, however to this point, it is not clicking.

Jordyn Huitema – 5

My preliminary learn on Jordyn Huitema’s recreation was way more adverse – she was virtually invisible offensively, managing a single, meekly taken header within the forty eighth minute that got here nowhere notably near threatening Sheridan’s aim, and struggling to do a lot on or (extra typically) off the ball. On rewatch, I got here to understand that she was extraordinarily lively defensively, main the group in tackles received (3) and blocks (4), and tracked again tirelessly to assist a defense-first Reign facet get via ninety-plus minutes whereas conceding few actual possibilities.

Huitema main the group in defensive-third tackles and blocks will not be a perfect use of her skills, although, and the shortcoming of the forwards to threaten aim and even simply hold San Diego sincere was a major problem, inviting increasingly strain because the Reign light and finally conceded on the dying.

Going Ahead: We have to get Jordyn Huitema going if we’ll ascend the desk. We want the attacking items we have now to execute extra ceaselessly and extra constantly, and we’d like somebody to step up and get a rattling aim. Jordyn’s arguably the most effective guess on the group to try this, however she wants to really try this.


Alana Cook dinner – 5 (on 58′ for Phoebe McClernon)

Alana got here on within the 58th minute, changing McClernon, and was positively a bit rusty, a bit out of sync along with her teammates, and a bit sluggish to the ball. Nonetheless, in restricted minutes, she had two blocked pictures and three clearances, and whereas her passing contact wasn’t fairly there, she did drop a few these stunning lengthy balls into the ultimate third. It’s going to be very nice to have these again.

She did not tilt the sphere and alter the end result, however she’ll be price factors because the season goes on. Let Alana cook dinner.

Going Ahead: It wasn’t a storybook welcome again to the pitch, however it was good to see Cook dinner on the market nonetheless, and as top-of-the-line within the league at contributing offense from the centerback place, we’ll be pleased to see her beginning as quickly as potential.

Ryanne Brown – 4 (on 76′ for Lily Woodham)

Approaching within the 76th minute to spell Woodham and assist grind out the match, Ryanne Brown touched the ball 9 occasions, struggled to maintain possession when she did contact the ball, and did not make a lot of a defensive affect.

Going Ahead: This appeared to be the form of recreation state Brown may actually thrive in, however it wasn’t to be. It wasn’t loads of different peoples’ night time both, to be truthful.

Tziarra King – 4 (on 76′ for Olivia Athens)

Tziarra King got here on within the 76th minute for an efficient however offensively restricted Athens, and touched the ball simply thrice. Within the ninety fifth minute, she collected a feed from Ji So-yun and took a shot, which was promptly blocked and got here to nothing. She accomplished each of her passes.

Going Ahead: Zee is a fan favourite, and she or he has the instruments to be extraordinarily profitable at this stage, however in some unspecified time in the future, she must present one thing within the minutes she will get. If Emeri Adames is not already leapfrogging her on the depth chart, it must be shut.

Emeri Adames – N/A (on 89′ for Bethany Balcer)

Approaching for stoppage time because the Reign collectively light and conceded, Adames accomplished two of three passes, had 5 touches, a clearance, a block, and located Ji So-yun on the ninety fifth minute sequence that led to King’s in the end futile shot. In restricted minutes in an unfavorable recreation state, she was positive.

Going Ahead: Emeri deserves an extended runout to see what she will deliver to a recreation with extra time. And it is not like anyone else is lighting up the scoreline, because it have been.

Nikki Stanton – N/A (on 89′ for Angharad James-Turner)

Approaching for stoppage time because the Reign collectively light and conceded, Stanton was decided to clear the rattling strains, one thing she did thrice in restricted minutes. That is about all she did, however actually, that is what she was there to do.

Going Ahead: Eleven minutes of weird and chaotic stoppage time apart, Stanton is a succesful holding midfielder, albeit most likely fifth on the depth chart for a Reign facet that is very deep within the function. She’ll mop up onerous minutes when different choices are unavailable.


Alex Billeter – 6

NWSL hasn’t had a lot in the best way of scandalous officiating this season. Not like MLS. Lesson: the union is just about by no means asking for an excessive amount of and sure it may be a lot worse. Alex Billeter turned in one other calm, skilled refereeing efficiency, between two groups that after once more largely got here to play, to not hack.

We may have some minor nits to choose with Billeter’s recreation, however the whistles made sense, the calls have been even-handed, the sport was saved underneath management, and regardless of the outcome sucking, the officiating’s not going to be anyone’s narrative. Arguably essentially the most controversial name benefited the Reign, as San Diego appeared to have taken a late lead just for Billeter to wave the aim off, because the AR dominated the ball had beforehand crossed the tip line. With no clear angle to indicate it hadn’t, the decision on the sphere stood. An endline digicam may’ve yielded a unique end result, however we will solely ask officers to officiate based mostly off the data they’ve entry to.

It was, nevertheless, one other recreation with double digit stoppage time. That is an excessive amount of stoppage time. It ought to be completely distinctive for that board to learn + 11. This season, it has been completely routine.

With the worldwide window behind them, the Reign return to the sphere at league debutantes Bay FC on Sunday at 5 p.m. PT. Regardless of the letdown in San Diego, the Reign ought to attempt to keep up their historic ranges of dominance over California-based groups, and provides me a motive to charge somebody an 8 once more. Please.

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