SEATTLE, WA— (Reign release) In front of a raucous crowd of 5,888, Seattle Reign FC defeated rival Portland Thorns FC 3-1. It was the final meeting between the two teams this season, and Seattle’s first win against Portland this year.
Francine Scott shot the match for goalWA.net. See her gallery here!
The victory was Reign FC’s (6-5-5, 23 pts) second in the past three matches. This was the first match back after the NWSL’s 25-day long Olympic Break.
“After the Olympic break, and obviously coming off a tough game in Portland, knowing there’s five games left and they’re basically must-win games added a little bit of pressure,” said Seattle Reign FC midfielder and Captain Keelin Winters. “I think the team responded really well the last ten days. We’ve been really dialed in, and I think you could tell in this game.”
Reign FC opened the scoring in the 27th minute of the match, when Manon Melis scored her first ever goal against the Thorns. Winters played a long ball out to Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi on the wing. Naho played it forward to Melis, who split the defenders and chipped the ball over Michelle Betos for the goal.
Seattle went into the half leading the match 1-0. It was the first time this season Seattle led the Thorns at halftime.
Just five minutes into the second half, Seattle was able to double its lead. The Portland defense tried to play a ball back to Betos, but Melis was able to pounce on the pass and gain possession. Melis then chipped the ball past Betos for her second goal on the night.
“I don’t think she [the defender] knew I was behind her, so I just pressed her and got the ball,” said Melis.
Portland cut the deficit in half through midfielder Allie Long. Thorns FC earned a free kick in second half stoppage time. Long was able to finish Tobin Heath’s service into the box to make the score line 2-1.
“We should be disappointed with that,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey. “At this stage of the season all that stuff matters. Head-to-head matters.”
Reign FC would respond two minutes later to restore the lead to two goals. Rumi Utsugi won the ball in Seattle’s defensive third, and played it up to Kim Little. Little played Jessica Fishlock in behind the defense, who then crossed it over to Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe made no mistake with her finish, and made the score 3-1 in favor of Reign FC.
This was Rapinoe’s first match of the season for Seattle, after missing the first portion of the season due to an ACL injury and being a part of the U.S. Women’s National Team roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Melis was awarded Reign FC player of the match for her efforts, scoring two of Reign FC’s three goals in the game. The forward now leads the team in goals with five this season.
Before the match, Reign FC honored Austen Everett as a Reign FC Legend for her lifetime of charitable work and inspiration in the fight against cancer. Everett was the founder of the Austen Everett foundation, which honors children fighting cancer at events and give them a special memory with their favorite athletes.
Everett passed away after a four-year battle with cancer. Her mother and best friend June Leahy accepted the award on her behalf, and she continues to run the Austen Everett Foundation today to honor the legacy of Austen.
The result means Reign FC now has 23 points this season. Due to results in other games this evening, Seattle is now four points out of the fourth and final playoff spot.
“As long as we step up in these next four games and can put our mark on something and build something, and be peaking when we want to peak,” said Seattle Reign FC’s Merritt Mathias. “Has the season gone exactly how we planned it? Absolutely not. Are we still in it? Yes.”
With the loss, Portland Thorns FC (8-3-5, 29 pts) remain in second place in the NWSL standings, with 29 points on the season. The Washington Spirit are currently in first place with 35 points after their win against the Houston Dash last week.
Up next, Reign FC head to Chicago to face the Red Stars in the first leg of a two-game road trip. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m PT and the match will be streamed on youtube.com/nwsl.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Seattle Reign FC (6-5-5, 23 pts) vs. Portland Thorns FC (8-3-5, 29 pts)
Date: August 27, 2016
Venue: Memorial Stadium
Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. PT
SEA – Manon Melis (Nahomi Kawasumi) 27’
SEA – Manon Melis (Beverly Yanez) 50’
POR – Allie Long (Tobin Heath) 92+
SEA – Megan Rapinoe (Jessica Fishlock) 94+
Seattle Reign FC: Kopmeyer, Fletcher, Barnes, Utsugi, Kawasumi (Rapinoe 79’), Winters (Pickett 89’), Fishlock, Little, Yanez, Mathias, Melis (Dallstream 76’)
Substitutes Not Used: Elston, Reed, Solaun, Tostanoski
Portland Thorns FC: Betos, Reynolds, Sonnett, Menges, Klingenberg, Long, Henry (Shim 18’), Horan, Weber (Raso 76’), Heath, Nadim
Substitutes Not Used: Franch, Williamson, Skogerboe, Brynjarsdottir, Boureille
Stats Summary: SEA/POR
Shots: 18 / 16
Shots on Goal: 7 / 7
Saves: 6 / 4
Corner Kicks: 7 / 8
Fouls: 9 / 13
Offside: 5 / 3
SEA – Barnes (Yellow) 54’
SEA – Fishlock (Yellow) 65’
POR – Reynolds (Yellow) 71’
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
Assistant Referees: Alicia Messer, Francisco Bermudez
Fourth Official: Levi Rippy