Reign and Thorns NWSL Cascadia rivalry turns 40 with 0-0 draw


Seattle Reign FC 0
Portland Thorns FC 0
June 16, 2024
Lumen Field – Seattle, WA
NWSL Regular Season

When the NWSL began in 2013, there was hope amongst supporters and the Cascadia clubs that the regional rivalry could become something more than merely regional.  In over a decade, both clubs have won trophies, played dramatic matches, and seen the rivalry actually develop across multiple competitions.  The Sunday’s match in Seattle is the 40th match between the two sides and a real rivalry has emerged. Both rosters have had long tenured players and coaches embrace the rivalry.  Traveling supporters have added atmosphere to matches.  The games have had consequences. Just over a month ago, the Thorns dropped four on the visiting Reign in Providence Park in a match that went sideways for the Reign late.

Since the match in Portland, the Thorns have maintained their spots near the top of the table. The hosts Reign have seen their usually stingy defense suddenly giving up goals in bunches and a season looking like it could slip away. Sophia Smith would not be available due to a red card suspension.  Sam Coffey, Olivia Moultrie, and Morgan Weaver were also out for the Thorns due to injury, while the Reign came in reasonably healthy. Claudia Dickey returned from injury in goal for the Reign, getting her first start in several weeks.

The Cascadia derbies have often been intense and physical affairs.  The level of intensity matching the level of the rivalry as it has grown.  It did not take long for the intensity to manifest in the form of a yellow card.  The first booking came a mere three minutes in to Portland’s Janine Beckie for a foul on Reign midfielder Jessica Fishlock.

The first half would play out in waves of pressure. The early stages seemed as though both sides were poking and prodding, looking for any advantage that did not come.  As the middle of the half progressed, the hosts seemed to have the better of the ball and possession, but the Thorns counter was dangerous.

Eventually, both would get some good looks and set pieces, creating moments of danger in front of both goals.  Neither would break through.  Late in the half it appeared as though the Reign might grab a first goal, but the Portland defense handled Jordyn Huitema getting in behind.  The first half would end goalless.

Seattle Reign FC vs Portland Thorns FC

Coming out of the interval the intensity ramped up.  Only a few minutes into the half and Reign defender Ryanne Brown would be booked for a foul on Christine Sinclair.  The physical play continued with several hard fouls causing a number of stoppages.

Seattle would find some good chances on goal in the middle third, but chips from Brown and a shot from Bethany Balcer  would go high.

Portland did not hold back attacking, even with so many injuries, but their forays forward tended towards counters and the defense stayed home.

The final stages of the match was a continuation of the pressure and physical intensity that had been the story of the match. All the stoppages led to significant added time, giving both clubs a chance to throw forward a few more attacks.

Seattle Reign FC vs Portland Thorns FC

The goalless draw at least was a point for the Reign and clean sheet, given the 15 goals they had conceded over the previous four matches.  The single point for Portalnd was a well deserved grinded out road point given the circumstances.

The home side might rue the draw, given several really dangerous chances, but the point was their first since a similarly hard fought goalless home draw with Kansas City in May.

With this draw, the NWSL Cascadia derby has now run 40 matches.

Photos by Paul Kahl

Seattle Reign FC vs Portland Thorns FC


About Author

With Prost since 2014, Jeff primary covers Reign FC along with other WOSO in Cascadia and will be part of the Seattle WC26 coverage team.

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