See you soon Portland: Reign FC books trip to NWSL Championship with 3–0 win over the Spirit
What a ball game.
Seattle Reign FC (13–3–4, 43 pts) pushed and pushed until finally, three goals fell in favor of the home side. Reign FC punched its ticket to the NWSL Championship match with a 3–0 victory over the Washington Spirit (8–6–6, 30 pts) in an NWSL semifinal on Sunday, September 13 at the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium in front of a crowd of 5,021.
Seattle will now travel to Portland to face FC Kansas City on Thursday, October 1 at Providence Park. Tickets for that match are currently on sale at www.portlandthornsfc.com.
Reign FC almost opened the scoring in the 4th minute after forward Megan Rapinoe collected a ball in the box and dropped it off for forward Merritt Mathias. Mathias’ shot beat Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris but hit off the right post before being cleared away.
Three minutes later, Danish international Katrine Veje intercepted a back-pass that put her one-on-one with Harris. Veje attempted to chip the Spirit goalkeeper who was able to bat the ball away from danger.
Washington’s best chance came in the 30th minute when forward Crystal Dunn found space down the right side before sending a lofting ball towards the back post. Reign FC goalkeeper Hope Solo was in position to tip the ball harmlessly over the crossbar.
Following the second half, Seattle amped up its pressure and peppered the Spirit with a total of 10 shots.
Reign FC again almost found the opening tally in the 54th minute when Rapinoe played a short corned into the box for defender Stephanie Cox. Cox quickly sent a left-footed shot curling towards goal but Harris was able to leap up and push the ball over the crossbar.
In the 71st minute, Seattle found its goal. Moments after entering the match, forward Beverly Yanez got on the end of a cross from Rapinoe to slam home the opening goal and put Reign FC up 1–0 over the Spirit.
Four minutes later, Rapinoe doubled the home team’s lead. Scottish international Kim Little gathered the ball with space in the middle and sent it out wide. Rapinoe took the ball into the box and fired her shot past Harris and into the side netting, extending Seattle’s lead to 2–0.
Up by two goals, Reign FC remained patient on the ball and continued to pressure the Spirit’s goal. After earning a corner, Cox’s ball in fell to midfielder Mariah Bullock who powered her shot into the roof of the net to bring the final scoreline to 3–0.
On the defensive end, Seattle’s backline remained stout throughout the night to keep NWSL Golden Boot winner Crystal Dunn off the scoresheet. As such, Solo was forced to make just one save on the night.
“Last week’s game wasn’t just that we won. We felt like we wanted to prove a point tonight,” said head coach and general manager Laura Harvey. “ I thought our backline was exceptional tonight. Jess [Fishlock] and Keelin [Winters] were both exceptional as well.”
With the victory, Reign FC advances to the 2015 NWSL Championship for a second consecutive year. Seattle will face FC Kansas City, who beat Chicago Red Stars earlier on Sunday 3–0 to clinch their spot, in a Championship rematch on Thursday, October 1. Following a new league structure for the NWSL Championship Final, that match will be played at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.
To purchase tickets to the NWSL Championship match, visit www.portlandthornsfc.com or call (888) 736–6849.
Match: Seattle Reign FC vs. Washington Spirit
Date: September 13, 2015
Venue: Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium (Seattle, Wash.)
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. PT
SEA — Beverly Yanez (Rapinoe) 71', Rapinoe (Little) 75', Bullock 90'
SEA — Merritt Mathias 52' (Cauition)
Lineups & Stats
SEA: GK Hope Solo, D Rachel Corsie, D Kendall Fletcher, D Lauren Barnes, D Stephanie Cox, M Keelin Winters, M Jessica Fishlock, M Kim Little, F Merritt Mathias (Elli Reed, 81), D Katrine Veje (Beverly Yanez, 71), 80, F Megan Rapinoe (Mariah Bullock, 88)
Substitutes not used: Kopmeyer, Foxhoven, Dallstream, Brooks
WAS: GK Ashlyn Harris, D Katherine Reynolds, D Megan Oyster, D Whitney Church, D Crystal Dunn, D Estelle Johnson, M Angela Salem (M Tori Huster, 84), M Christine Nairn, M Diana Matheson, F Francisca Ordega (Joanna Lohman 73), D Hayley Raso
Substitutes not used: Wys, Chukwunonye, Da Costa, Ngozi Okobi
Referee: Christopher Spivey
Assistant Referee: Deleana Quan, Cameron Blanchard
Fourth Official: Matthew Kreitzer
Shots: SEA- 18, WAS- 3
Shots on goal: SEA- 9, WAS- 1
Saves: SEA- 1, WAS- 6
Corner kicks: SEA- 8, WAS- 4
Fouls: SEA- 11, WAS- 5
Offsides: SEA- 1, WAS- 1