Spirited effort keeps Reign FC in playoff hunt

SEATTLE, WA–– In their final home game of the season, Seattle Reign FC defeated the Washington Spirit 2-0. It was Captain Keelin Winters’ final home match for Reign FC.

With the win, Reign FC (7-6-6, 27 pts) extends its home unbeaten streak to six matches. Seattle has not lost at Memorial Stadium since May 22nd against the Chicago Red Stars.

“I think with the week we’ve had, obviously the long road trip to Chicago and Washington, with the results not going the way we wanted, we wanted to come back and put that right,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey. “I think that you saw the true Seattle Reign tonight, and I am just really proud of that.”

The first goal of the match came in the 28th minute of play. Jess Fishlock was able to send a long ball down the line to Megan Rapinoe, who received the pass in stride before sending a left-footed cross into the box. Beverly Yanez slid to meet the ball at the back post to give Reign FC a 1-0 lead.

(Cover photo courtesy of TheBold.net)

“I thought it was a great build up from the team overall, and then Pinoe hit a ridiculous ball across the box,” said Yanez. “As I started the run, I kind of picked my head up and saw that I could get there first to the back of the net and to the far post. So I raised my hand, put it down, then I saw her make eye contact, so I knew right then and there to get to the back post as quickly as you can because the ball is going to come across.”

The teams went into halftime with Reign FC leading 1-0, and the Spirit came out looking to equalize in the second half, earning three corner kicks in the first five minutes of play. Seattle was able to weather the storm and went on to double the lead in the 78th minute.

Lauren Barnes took a short corner kick, passing the ball off to Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi. Naho then whipped a cross into the box, that fell to the feet of Winters. The Captain put the ball in the back of the net to double Reign FC’s lead.

“Obviously I want to score in every game, but with my position I don’t get very many scoring opportunities,” said Winters. “For [a goal] to come in my last game at Memorial Stadium, means the world to me. More importantly it keeps our playoff hopes alive, so for me that’s the biggest takeaway coming from this game.”

Washington came close to scoring in second half stoppage time, but Estelle Johnson’s shot was cleared off the line by Carson Pickett to preserve the shutout. It was Reign FC’s fourth home shutout this season.

Winters was awarded Reign FC’s player of the match for her performance on the night. This was Winters’ goal was her first on the season, and her sixth career goal with the club.

“I don’t really have the right words to express how much the fans mean to me and how much this club means to me,” said Winters. “This is my sixth year as a professional soccer player, and the last four years have been the best years of my life.”

“That was a sentiment that sums up Keelin really,” said Harvey. “This matters to her, and it matters the way she goes out. I’m just really pleased that she has the chance to go out with whatever games she ends up playing having to meaning to it.”

Before the match, Reign FC honored five active-duty U.S. Navy sailors as Reign FC Legends for their bravery, their service to our nation, and for their defense of the hard-fought freedoms we cherish. Jennifer Aguilar, Gloria Cisneros, Frances Thompson, Jennifer Reeder, and Nandi Boatwright are all currently serving at bases across Washington state.

Tonight’s result means Reign FC now has 27 points this season and remains in fifth place on the NWSL table. Seattle is still in the hunt for the final playoff spot, and is two points behind the Western New York Flash for fourth place.

Both the Washington Spirit (12-4-3, 39 pts), Portland Thorns FC, and Chicago Red Stars have clinched 2016 NWSL playoff berths. The Western New York Flash, and Seattle Reign FC are competing for the final 2016 playoff spot.

Reign FC will have a week off before facing the Houston Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday, September 25th for their final game of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m PT. The match will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and available for on-demand streaming via the FOX Sports GO app and online at FOXSportsGO.com.

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