OL Reign finally tasted knockout soccer victory on Friday night, defeating Angel City FC 1-0 in a tense playoff match at Lumen Field. It marked the first time since the 2015 semifinal that the Reign have advanced from a knockout match. They had lost five consecutive playoff matches plus three Challenge Cup knockouts—two of which were on penalty kicks. Here are three quick thoughts from the 2023 playoff opener.
Latsko’s effort gets it done
Megan Rapinoe and Jess Fishlock, speaking to the Paramount Plus broadcast team after the match, both expressed how difficult this match was to play. The winning goal, the only goal, was evidence of that. As the minutes rolled by and tensions ran high, the Reign broke through on a goal by Veronica Latsko that was as much about effort as it was about execution. Phoebe McClernon got off a cross from the left side and Latsko appeared to be squeezed between defenders Paige Nielsen and MA Vignola. But Latsko fought into the narrowest of openings and to the ball where she headed her first career playoff goal past Angelina Anderson. Perhaps the Angel City defense could have communicated better and had one marker on Latsko, but to say she was open would be inaccurate.
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