SEATTLE, WA — (club release) In front of a crowd of 3,521 fans, Seattle Reign FC earned a point in a 1-1 draw against Sky Blue FC to open the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League season. This was the first of three meetings between the two squads.
MATCH PHOTOS: Tom Jones Gallery
With the tie, Reign FC (0-0-1, 1 pt) remains undefeated through their past six NWSL matches going back to the 2016 season. Seattle’s all-time record against Sky Blue is still even at 3-3-5.
“Last year we could’ve lost that game for sure,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach and general manager Laura Harvey. “We said before the game we have to have grit and determination and a mentality of proving the critics wrong because everyone’s written us off, and I think tonight we showed we have that.”
Reign FC came out quickly, almost scoring within the opening five minutes of the match. Megan Rapinoe sent a cross to Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi on the back post, who then chipped the ball to a trailing Jess Fishlock. Fishlock’s header was just over the crossbar.
After the quick start, Haley Kopmeyer was called into action several times. The first came in the 17th minute, when Leah Galton came into the box trailing the run of play. The ball fell to Galton who fired a shot at Kopmeyer, who was able to make the save.
In the 31st minute, Kelly O’Hara had a shot from a tight angle in the box. Kopmeyer dove to parry the ball out for a corner kick that would be cleared by the defense.
The teams entered the half tied 0-0. The first goal of the match came in the 56th minute, after Rapinoe finished the penalty kick opportunity she earned after being fouled by Erica Skroski. It was Rapinoe’s first-ever goal against Sky Blue.
“I had let Laura know I was comfortable taking [penalties] and would take them if she wanted that,” said Rapinoe.
Sky Blue’s goal also came from a penalty kick, just eight minutes after Seattle’s. O’Hara was fouled in the box by Merritt Mathias, and Sarah Killion converted the resulting penalty to even the score 1-1.
Kopmeyer was named player of the match for her performance, making eight saves on the night. This was the first season opener Kopmeyer has started for the club.
“The more involved you are, the easier it is to get that rhythm and keep that rhythm versus games where you’re out there like 80 minutes and then all of a sudden you’re called on to make a save,” said Kopmeyer. “Being in the league this long I was more like alright I got to calm the people in front of me down and make sure they settle in and feel comfortable.”
Before the match, Reign FC honored Keelin Winters as a Reign FC Legend for her career with the club. The team captain from 2013 to 2016, Winters retired at the end of last season and will become a firefighter at the Kirkland Fire Department this May.
Today’s result gives Reign FC one point to open the season, good for fourth place on the NWSL table. Seattle and Sky Blue were the only teams to tie on opening day, with the Houston Dash, Portland Thorns FC, and North Carolina Courage earning wins.
“We have a really short preseason, and anywhere else in the world you have preseason for three months whereas we have it for five weeks,” said Harvey “This to me is we’re still in preseason a little bit, because we have to be. I think that showed in every game today. The quality is the thing that was probably lacking across the board.”
Up next, Reign FC hosts Houston Dash on April 22nd at 7:00 p.m. PT. The last meeting between the two teams ended in a 3-2 victory for Seattle to close out the 2016 NWSL season and improve their perfect record against Houston to 7-0-0.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Seattle Reign FC (0-0-1, 1 pt) vs. Sky Blue FC (0-0-1, 1 pt)
Date: April 15, 2017
Venue: Memorial Stadium
Kickoff: 7:00pm PT
SEA – Rapinoe (PEN) 56’
NJ – Killion (PEN) 62’
Seattle Reign FC: Kopmeyer, Pickett, Barnes, McNabb, Mathias, Fishlock, Yanez, Nairn (Dallstream 74’), Rapinoe (Stott 86’), Elston (Utsugi 66’), Kawasumi
Substitutes Not Used: Corsie, Reed, Schiffel, Johnson
Sky Blue FC: Sheridan, Skroski, Freeman, Pearce, Mills, Galton (Hayes 83’), Killion, Rodriguez, Lytle (Corboz 73’), Kerr, O’Hara
Substitutes Not Used: Casey, Stanton, Simon
Stats Summary: SEA/NJ
Shots: 11 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6
Saves: 8 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 4
Fouls: 5 / 2
Offside: 5 / 1
SEA – Mathias (Yellow) 62’
Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Weed, Cephas Quartson
Fourth Official: Levi Rippy
About Seattle Reign FC
Seattle Reign FC is one of ten teams in the National Women’s Soccer League. The two-time winner of the NWSL Shield, Reign FC features world-class talent from around the world, including USWNT superstar Megan Rapinoe. Reign FC plays its home matches at Memorial Stadium, located in the shadow of the Space Needle on the Seattle Center campus. For more information about Reign FC please visit http://www.reignfc.com.