SEATTLE, WA — (club release) In front of a crowd of 2,727 fans, Seattle Reign FC scored five goals to earn three points against the Houston Dash on Saturday night. The goal total ensures Reign FC has scored five goals in a match for four consecutive seasons.
GALLERY: Tom Jones photos for goalWA.net
With the victory, Reign FC (1-0-1, 4 pts) remain undefeated through their past eight NWSL matches at Memorial Stadium going back to the 2016 season. Seattle’s all-time record against the Dash remains perfect at 8-0-0.
“The girls have worked really hard after last Saturday [against Sky Blue FC] on the things that they wanted to be better at and we had a real specific game plan for Houston which they executed really well,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach and general manager Laura Harvey. “We scored goals at crucial times and that’s what we can do. We’ve got a very good group of players here. We might not have the names that we had before but we’ve got some excellent players and I think they proved it tonight.”
The first goal of the night came from co-captain Jess Fishlock in the 18th minute of the match. After a clearance deflected off Beverly Yanez, Christine Nairn was able to control the ball and lay it off for Fishlock. Fishlock then shot through traffic into the far corner of the net for her first goal of 2017.
Megan Rapinoe doubled the score less than ten minutes later, with a volley into the upper corner of the net. Rookie Kristen McNabb played a ball over the top for Rapinoe, who found the back of the net with a first touch shot.
McNabb added a goal to her stat line in the 31st minute to make the score line 3-0. After the Dash failed to clear a corner kick, McNabb was able to head the ball past Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell for her first professional goal.
“I was happy to start again and I think the goal was a bonus,” said McNabb. “I wish we got the shutout but they [Houston] got that one at the end. Overall I was pretty happy.”
The second half saw two more goals from Reign FC, with Yanez getting on the board in the 55th minute. Yanez’s first goal of 2017 came after Fishlock’s shot from outside the box was deflected by Campbell. Yanez tapped the ball into an empty net to make it 4-0.
Katie Johnson, after subbing in for Yanez to make her Reign FC debut, also scored her first professional goal in the 74th minute. Getting on the end of a deflected Rapinoe cross. This was the first match in Reign FC history that two rookies scored their first professional goal.
The Dash ended the chance for a Reign FC shutout with a goal from Poliana in the 84th minute. Haley Kopmeyer was able to punch away the initial shot from Sarah Hagen, but Poliana put the second chance in the back of the net.
“She [Kopmeyer] was really annoyed that she conceded late, I think the whole group was,” said Harvey. “That’s a sign of who we want to be we don’t want to give any goals away cheaply even if it means it doesn’t affect the result.”
Megan Rapinoe was named player of the match for her performance, scoring a goal and getting two shots on the night. This is the second straight match Rapinoe has scored a goal.
“Obviously it’s been a while [since playing the full 90],” said Rapinoe. “I think I have the lungs for it and the legs for it, it’s just kind of getting everything back together. So far it’s good.”
Before the match, Reign FC and Avanade honored Seattle Storm President and General Manager Alisha Valavanis as a Reign FC Legend for her vision and leadership in women’s sports. Valavanis has brought star players such as Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart to Seattle through the draft and secured the 2017 WNBA All-Star game.
Tonight’s result gives Reign FC four points on the season, good for second place on the NWSL table. Seattle was one of three teams to win today, along with the Chicago Red Stars and North Carolina Courage. The Orlando Pride tied the Washington Spirit in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.
“We always want to score the perfect goal. Tonight we got a few of those and I think a test for us is when we can’t score the perfect goal, can we go out and get a little bit,” said Harvey. “Tonight we were on the end of pretty much every second ball and when you do that, the opposition struggle to break you down or get into a rhythm.”
Up next, Reign FC face the Boston Breakers in their first road match of the season on April 29th. Kickoff is set for 4:00pm PT at Harvard Stadium in Allston, MA. The last meeting between these two teams was July 2, 2016, with Seattle earning a 2-0 victory at Memorial Stadium.
SEA – Fishlock (Nairn) 18’
SEA – Rapinoe (McNabb) 27’
SEA – McNabb 31’
SEA – Yanez 55’
SEA – Johnson 74’
HOU – Poliana 84’