The OL Reign opens its 2022 NWSL regular season roster on Sunday with a road game against the Washington Spirit. The Reigns are once again favorites to win the league championship – which would be a first in the team’s 10-year history.
Here are some keys that could help achieve the coveted title:
The Bolds were unbeaten in Challenge Cup group stage competition, with manager Laura Harvey using the pre-season tournament to test roster depth and building chemistry. The team showed both, but some of that was displayed against expansion teams Angel City FC and San Diego Wave. Harvey will know early on if the tournament helped mesh the roster.
fear the attack
Reign striker Ally Watt, who was drafted in 2020 and suffered an ACL injury, is fully healthy and dead. She adds to attacking front options that include Bethany Balcer, Rose Lavelle and Tziarra King, who had highlights in the Challenge Cup. Harvey has yet to play striker Megan Rapinoe due to a calf injury, meaning the Reign is expected to have an embarrassing amount of creative ways to score.
Balance the schedule
Several players will be called up for the World Cup qualifiers this summer, including for the CONCACAF W Championship in July which clinches the ticket for this region. With a 12-team league, whoever can handle the missing stars, trips, and injuries with the unexpected that makes the NWSL fun will win the prize and the respect.