As head coach Laura Harvey said all season long, goals change games. The 2015 Championship match was about as even as they come, but it was FC Kansas City with the lone goal to seal the deal and edge out Reign FC to win their second title in two seasons.
Seattle finishes the 2015 campaign as the league runner-up, as well as the NWSL shield winners after posting 43 points during the regular season.
Despite pressuring the Kansas City backline throughout the match, FCKC grabbed the lead courtesy of an unanswered Amy Rodriguez goal in the 78th minute that proved to be the difference.
Reign FC got its first chance in the sixth minute on an excellent solo effort from forward Megan Rapinoe. The U.S. Women’s National Team star used some short-space quickness to get around Brown before putting a dangerous ball in towards goal that FCKC goalkeeper Nichole Barnhart deflected away.
FC Kansas City worked the ball down the right-hand side before forward Amy Rodriguez had an open chance to put the Blues ahead in the 15th minute, but placed her shot wide of the target.
In the 20th minute, Reign FC started a quick counter as the ball found Rapinoe in stride. Rapinoe sent a long cross to midfielder Kim Little who carried the ball into space before playing a strong shot from the top of the box that Barnhart was able to smother.
The second half started off slow for both sides as possession swayed from end to end. The next best chance of the match came in the 63rd minute as Rapinoe sent a stunner from 25 yards out that beat Barnhart but deflected off the far post and away from goal.
FC Kansas City found the opening and eventual game-winner in the 78th minute as a long ball out wide found Heather O’Reilly on the left flank. The midfielder send a pin-pointed cross to Rodriguez and the subsequent point-blank header gave Kansas City the 1–0 lead.
In the final 12 minutes, Reign FC upped the pressure in search of an equalizer which created numerous chances that all fell short of target.
With three minutes remaining in regulation, Reign FC’s final chance came and went as Danish international Katrine Veje played a low cross into the box that Rapinoe hit one-time with power but it went right at Barnhart.
“Credit to Kansas for reducing us to shooting from distance,” said head coach and general manager Laura Harvey. “Both teams are the best at playing under pressure but our pressure got better in the second half. We’re massively disappointed but we will learn from it.”
Seattle finishes the season series with FC Kansas City with a record of 1–2–0. The two teams met twice during the regular season, with both sides taking a win at home.
The first time the two sides squared off, at Swope Soccer Village on April 23, Seattle fell 1–0 behind a goal from Rodriguez. In the teams’ second and final matchup on the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium on May 9, Reign FC grabbed all three points as Little and Beverly Yanez tallied goals in the 2–1 win.
Seattle Reign FC vs. FC Kansas City
Date: October 1, 2015
Venue: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. PT
KC — Amy Rodriguez (Heather O’Reilly) 78'
KC — Becky Sauerbrunn, 76'
Shots: SEA- 7, KC- 10
Shots on goal: SEA- 3, KC- 3
Saves: SEA- 2, KC- 3
Corner kicks: SEA- 5, KC- 2
Fouls: SEA- 9, KC- 3
Offsides: SEA- 3, KC- 1
SEA: GK Hope Solo, D Rachel Corsie, D Kendall Fletcher (D Elli Reed, 77), D Lauren Barnes, D Stephanie Cox, M Keelin Winters, M Jessica Fishlock, M Kim Little, F Merritt Mathias (Katrine Veje, 72), F Beverly Yanez, 80, F Megan Rapinoe
Substitutes not used: Kopmeyer, Foxhoven, Dallstream, Brooks, Bullock
KC: GK Nicole Barnhart, D Becky Sauerbrunn, D Becca Moros, D Leigh Ann Brown, D Amy LePeilbet, M Jen Buczowski, M Heather O’Reilly (M Tori Huster, 84), M Erika Tymrak (M Shea Groom, 77), M Mandy Laddish (M Yael Averbuch 92+), F Amy Rodriguez(F Sarah Hagen 93+), F Lauren Holiday
Substitutes not used: Rowland, Clark, Bogus, Kastor
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referee: Amanda Ross; Jennifer Garner
Fourth Official: Margaret Domka