Reign fall to Flash

SEATTLE, WA–– (Reign release) Despite falling on the road to the Western New York Flash, Reign FC set a new NWSL record for most consecutive minutes without conceding a goal. Seattle held Western New York scoreless for the first 37 minutes of the match, making the new record 530 total shutout minutes.

The loss ended Reign FC’s (4-4-4, 16 pts) five-game undefeated streak, and was the first loss for Seattle since May 22. It also ended Reign FC’s record-setting five game shutout streak.

NWSL Pts GP W L T GF GA GD
Portland Thorns FC 26 12 7 0 5 18 7 11
Western New York Flash 24 12 8 4 0 25 13 12
Washington Spirit 23 11 7 2 2 16 8 8
Chicago Red Stars 18 12 5 4 3 11 12 -1
Sky Blue FC 16 12 4 4 4 13 15 -2
Seattle Reign FC 16 12 4 4 4 12 10 2
Orlando Pride 15 11 5 6 0 10 11 -1
FC Kansas City 10 11 2 5 4 6 9 -3
Houston Dash 7 10 2 7 1 6 11 -5
Boston Breakers 4 11 1 9 1 3 24 -21

Reign FC got on the scoreboard first, with a goal from Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi in the 23rd minute of the match. Beverly Yanez played a ball forward to Manon Melis, who was sprinting down the sideline. Melis controlled the ball and cut inside her defender to send a cross into the box. Naho was waiting on the back post and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.

The goal ended a four-game scoreless streak on the road for Reign FC, and marked the second game in a row Seattle has notched a first-half goal.

The Flash found a goal through Abby Erceg in the 38th minute, which ended Reign FC’s streak of over 500 minutes without conceding a goal and their five-game shutout streak. Erceg got her head on a Jessica McDonald throw-in to tie the game at one goal apiece.

Reign FC goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer was injured on the play and was replaced by rookie goalkeeper Andi Tostanoski.

Western New York was able to grab the lead just before halftime, scoring off of another McDonald throw-in. After a series of failed clearances, the ball fell to the feet of Erceg right in front of an empty net. The midfielder tapped the ball home for her second goal of the night.

The offense continued in the second-half, with both teams finding the back of the net. This marked the first time this season Reign FC has had back-to-back multi-goal games.

Lynn Williams extended the lead for the Flash with a breakaway goal in the 83rd minute. Williams got in behind the Reign FC defense and was able to pull Tostanoski off her line. Kendall Fletcher was able to recover and ran back to cover the goal line, but Williams was able to fire the ball past the defender for her league-leading 7th goal.

Then, in second-half stoppage time, Rumi Utsugi was able to pull Seattle back within one in her Reign FC debut. Naho was able to turn several defenders in the penalty area, but her shot deflected off a Flash player. While the ball was still falling to the ground, Utsugi smashed a volley into the back of the net for her first career NWSL goal.

Utsugi met up with the team in Rochester the day before the match, and saw 15 minutes of action in tonight’s match.

Naho was awarded Reign FC player of the match for the second straight match. With her goal tonight, Naho has three goals on the season and is now tied with Kim Little for the team lead in goals.

Today’s result keeps Reign FC on 16 points for the season. As a result, Seattle falls one spot to sixth place on the NWSL table, but still remains just two points out of the final playoff spot behind the Chicago Red Stars, who currently sit in 4th with 18 points.

With the win, the Western New York Flash hold on to second place in the NWSL standings with 24 points. The Flash are now just two points behind first place Portland Thorns FC, who play FC Kansas City later tonight.

Up next, Reign FC returns to Memorial Stadium to face the Western New York Flash for the second week in a row on July 16 at 7:00 p.m. PT. Seattle will look to tie the season series with the Flash at one game apiece. Next Saturday’s match will be the final meeting between the two teams this season.

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