SEATTLE,WA–– (club release) Seattle Reign FC (0-0-1) endured its first-ever loss at Memorial Stadium tonight by falling 1-2 to Sky Blue FC (1-0-0). The home opening match saw 3,987 Reign FC fans come out on a sunny Seattle evening to kick off the club’s fourth NWSL season.
The match was hard-fought from both sides, with the dominating Seattle offense pressing against SBFC’s backline within the first few minutes. While attempting to clear the ball in the 8th minute, Sky Blue goalkeeper Caroline Casey’s clearance deflected off forward Manon Melis’ head and bounced over Casey, where it danced perilously close to the line before Casey recovered and smothered the ball.
The first break in the score came in the 15th minute when a cross from SBFC defender Kelley O’Hara found forward Natasha Kai, who headed a floating ball above goalkeeper Hope Solo to the back left corner of the frame.
In the 23rd minute, forward Manon Melis took the ball down the right flank and deep into the box before sending a shot straight at Casey, who blocked it with her chest.
Minutes later, contact between forward Merritt Mathias and O’Hara in the box led to a penalty for Sky Blue. While midfielder Sarah Killion prepared to take the kick, Solo had words with the official and was presented a yellow card for dissent. Killion then took the PK, which was parried by a diving Solo, and was then headed over the bar by SBFC, leaving the score at 0-1 going into the half.
Returning for the second half, Reign FC countered with a goal in the 52nd minute. Midfielder Kim Little sent a cross from the left side to midfielder Jess Fishlock who caught it on her chest, and then chipped to the back post where Mathias headed it into the back of the net.
With the score knotted at 1-1, a defensive miscue by Reign FC allowed Sky Blue FC to grab another goal in the 64th minute. Midfielder Taylor Lytle delivered a cross to the mouth of the goal where midfielder Kelly Conheeney headed it into the net.
“We didn’t play well enough to win the game,” said Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey. “We didn’t do the things that we like to do and normally do very well. We were sloppy with possession.”
While Harvey is disappointed with her team’s performance, she commends Sky Blue FC for their well-earned win.
“Credit to them, they deserved to get something out of the game and they got it on a day where we didn’t perform,” said Harvey.
Reign FC travels to Boston, Mass. this weekend to face off against Boston Breakers on Sunday, April 24 at 3:30 p.m. PT. The match will be streamed live at youtube.com/nwsl. Reign FC returns home to Memorial Stadium for a rematch of the 2014 and 2015 NWSL championship games against FC Kansas City on Sunday, May 1 at 4:00 p.m. PT. Tickets to the match are available at reignfc.com/tickets or by calling (855) REIGN-FC.
Match: Seattle Reign FC v. Sky Blue FC
Date: April 17, 2016
Venue: Memorial Stadium (Seattle, Wash.)
Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. PT
Weather: 74 degrees, sunny
Goals by Half 1 2 Total
SEA 0 1 1
SBFC 1 1 2
SBFC – 15’ Kai (O’Hara)
SEA – 52’ Mathias (Fishlock)
SBFC – 64’ Conheeney (Lytle)
SEA – Caution – Hope Solo
SEA – Caution – Rachel Corsie
Lineups & Stats
SEA: GK Hope Solo, D Lauren Barnes, D Elli Reed (87’ Havana Solaun), D Kendall Fletcher, D Carson Pickett, M Keelin Winters, M Jessica Fishlock, M Kim Little, F Merritt Mathias (69’ Kiersten Dallstream), F Manon Melis (75’ Rachel Corsie), F Beverly Yanez.
Substitutes Not Used: GK Haley Kopmeyer, D Michelle Cruz, M Lindsay Elston
Head Coach: Laura Harvey
SBFC: GK Caroline Casey, D Christie Rampone, D Erica Skroski, D Kelley O’Hara, D Erin Simon, M Shawna Gordon, M Taylor Lytle (Hayes 85’), M Kelly Conheeney, M Raquel Rodriguez (Nick 74’), M Sarah Killion, F Natasha Kai (DeCesare 59’).
Substitutes not used: GK Caroline Stanley, M Nikki Stanton, D Kristin Grubka
Head Coach: Christy Holly
About Seattle Reign FC:
Seattle Reign FC is one of ten teams in the National Women’s Soccer League. The NWSL is the premier women’s professional soccer league in North America, featuring many of the top players from the United States, Canada and around the world. Seattle Reign FC train and host home matches at Memorial Stadium, located in the shadow of the Space Needle on the Seattle Center campus. For more information on the club visit reignfc.com.