SEATTLE, WA––(Reign release) In front of a crowd of 19,231, Reign FC fell 1-0 to the Thorns. It was the third meeting between the two teams this season, and the second match at Providence Park.
The loss was just Reign FC’s (5-5-5, 20 pts) second in nine matches. It was Seattle’s first loss to Portland this season, and ended a four game undefeated streak against the Cascadia rivals.
Reign FC sustained early offensive pressure from the Thorns, and were able to create their first chance of the game in the 20th minute. Merritt Mathias received the ball at the top of the box, and laid the ball off to Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi. Naho chipped it into the box where Keelin Winters was able to make contact, but her header was collected by Michelle Betos.
Kim Little had a chance to notch the 31st goal of her career, when she turned on a defender just outside the six-yard box. Her shot was blocked by Katherine Reynolds and then cleared by the rest of the Thorns defense in the 24th minute.
The teams went into the half tied up at 0-0. It was the first time since June 25 that Reign FC did not score a first half goal.
Jess Fishlock was able to create two excellent chances in the second half, both coming from well outside the 18’. In the 62nd minute, Fishlock’s effort from distance dipped just over the crossbar. Just ten minutes later, Fishlock’s free kick was tipped wide by Betos.
Portland broke the deadlock with Nadia Nadim’s game-winning goal in the 74th minute. Mana Shim sent a long ball forward, and Nadim was able to head the ball into the lower corner of the goal to give the Thorns a 1-0 victory.
Little was awarded Reign FC player of the match for her efforts, once again going the full 90 minutes for the club. The midfielder created several dangerous chances throughout the match, and notched two of the club’s 11 shots.
The result means Reign FC remains on 20 points this season, and currently sit in 6th place. Seattle is five points out of a playoff slot, behind the Chicago Red Stars who hold 4th place with 25 points.
With the win, Portland Thorns FC (8-2-5, 29 pts) hold onto first place in the NWSL standings, with 29 points on the season.
The NWSL now begins its three-week Olympic break. After the break, Reign FC and Thorns FC will face each other once again on August 27 at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m PT and the match will be streamed on youtube.com/nwsl. This will be the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the two squads.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Portland Thorns FC (8-2-5, 29 pts) vs. Seattle Reign FC (5-5-5, 20 pts)
Date: July 30, 2016
Venue: Providence Park
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PT