Canada’s Huitema, Quinn help propel OL Reign over Pride to win 2022 NWSL Shield
OL Reign’s Canadian connection came through in a 3-0 victory against the Orlando Pride on Saturday night in Seattle, lifting their team over the Portland Thorns into first place entering the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs — winning the 2022 NWSL Shield as the top team of the regular season in the process.
Toronto native Quinn collected the ball at midfield in the 24th minute of play with OL Reign already up 1-0, threading the ball past a defender to Chilliwack, B.C., native Jordyn Huitema, who patiently outwaited Orlando goalkeeper Erin McLeod of St. Albert, Alta., before tucking it in.
Huitema potted her last marker for Reign (11-4-7) in a Sept. 9 draw, the lone blemish on a 6-0-1 run for the NWSL’s hottest team. They are riding a four-game winning streak heading into the postseason.
With the victory, OL Reign leapfrogged the Thorns, who played to a 3-3 draw against NJ/NY Gotham FC earlier in the day, to claim their first NWSL Shield since 2015.
With the title, each player on the team earns a $10,000 US bonus, increased from $5,000 for this season.
WATCH | Canadian connection helps OL Reign secure 2022 NWSL Shield:
Playoff picture shaping up
Reign and the Thorns will both earn a bye into the semifinals, while the San Diego Wave, Houston Dash and Kansas City Current will take part in the quarter-finals on October 15.
The Pride (5-10-7) snapped a four-game losing skid with a draw against the San Diego Wave on Sunday, but were unable to climb out of 10th place with Saturday’s result.
Huitema helped orchestrate Reign’s opening goal in the eighth minute, finding Megan Rapinoe alone in front as the American soccer legend scored in her 100th appearance with the team.
Who else but… <br><br>RAPINOE scores to celebrate her 100th appearance with the <a href=”https://twitter.com/OLReign?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@OLReign</a>! 😎⚽<a href=”https://twitter.com/mPinoe?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@mPinoe</a> | RGNvORL <a href=”https://t.co/tixxWdyKQ4″>pic.twitter.com/tixxWdyKQ4</a>
The goal and assist earned Huitema her first multi-point effort of her NWSL career, coming in her 10th game after joining the team in July.
Bethany Balcer also found the back of the net for Reign in the 31st minute, drawing into a tie with Rapinoe for the team-lead in goals for the season at seven.