CHICAGO, IL—(Reign release) In the final regular season meeting with the Chicago Red Stars, Seattle Reign FC battled back to earn a 2-1 victory at Toyota Park. This marks Reign FC’s first-ever road win against the Red Stars and their second road win this season.
The win evens the all-time series between the two teams to 5-5-4. It also ends Reign FC’s (7-5-6, 27 pts) four-game winless streak on the road. With two goals in the match, Seattle matched their total number of goals in the past four road matches.
“At this stage of the season results are the most important thing,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach and general manager Laura Harvey. “We performed okay in the first half, but we knew we could be better. Second half, we never gave up and subs came on and made a difference. Really proud of the effort and character of this group.”
Chicago opened the scoring in the 23rd minute of the match with a goal from forward Jen Hoy. Midfielder Taylor Comeau worked her way into space at the top of the box, and lofted a ball into the box. Hoy got a head on the ball from Comeau and finished it past Haley Kopmeyer to put the Red Stars up 1-0.
Midfielder Christen Nairn almost provided the equalizer for Reign FC just before halftime. Midfielder Jess Fishlock worked to keep possession in the box, and tried to chip a ball over the Red Stars defense to Nairn. The ball deflected off a defender and fell to Nairn’s feet in the six-yard box, but her shot was well over the crossbar.
In the 70th minute, Kopmeyer made a huge save to keep the deficit at one. After Kopmeyer stopped forward Christen Press 1v1 on the break, Chicago earned a corner kick. On the resulting corner, midfielder Morgan Proffitt put a point blank header on frame and Kopmeyer reacted to keep the ball out of the net.
Reign FC left it late and began their comeback in the 90th minute of the match. Midfielder Rumi Utsugi won the ball in Reign FC’s attacking third, and after taking the space in front of her, slotted in forward Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi. Naho then cut past the defenders and finished the chance to tie the match.
Less than two minutes later, forward Katie Johnson scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time. Defender Merritt Mathias sent a long ball forward from midfield line to a sprinting Johnson. Taking one touch to get past her defender, Johnson calmly placed the ball past Chicago goalkeeper Michelle Dalton to make the score 2-1 and secure three points.
Naho was named Reign FC player of the match for her performance. The forward’s equalizing goal was her fifth on the season. She played the full 90 minutes in the match and led the team in crosses with eight.
Tonight’s result sees Reign FC points total for the season improve to 27, and they move back into the fourth and final playoff spot on the NWSL table. Today also saw the Houston Dash earn a win.
Reign FC’s next match is set for this Saturday, August 19th as they head to Yurcak Field to face Sky Blue FC. This is the final meeting between the two teams in the 2017 NWSL regular season. Kickoff is set for 4:00pm PT. The previous meeting between the two teams saw Reign FC earn a 5-4 win at home on July 22nd.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Chicago Red Stars (8-5-5, 29 pts) vs Seattle Reign FC (7-5-6, 27 pts)
Date: August 16, 2017
Venue: Toyota Park
Kickoff: 5:00pm PT