Nahomi Kawasumi Scores Brace in Seattle Reign FC Victory over Boston Breakers
4,356 fans came out to Memorial Stadium on a sunny Saturday evening to watch Seattle Reign FC take on the Boston Breakers and to witness the return of Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi.
Reign FC earned a 2-0 victory over the Boston Breakers off a brace from Naho and record-breaking defensive effort.
The win extended Reign FC’s (4-3-4, 16 pts) undefeated streak to five games and was the first win for Seattle since June 12. It also marked the fifth-straight game Seattle outshot their opponent, taking 12 shots (7 on goal) while Boston managed 6 (3 on goal) for the match.
“We played with good tempo and good quality, we dominated the match from minute 1 to minute 90,” said Jess Fishlock. “It was fun out there and we were playing with a smile on our faces, which we hadn’t done in a while.”
Reign FC maintained possession throughout the early moments of the match, netting their first goal of the match in the 15th minute. Just outside of the box, Naho slotted in Manon Melis on an overlapping run. Melis was able to control the ball right on the endline and send a cross into the box. After deflecting off a defender, the ball fell right to the feet of Naho, who made no mistake with her finish.
Right before halftime, Kim Little had a chance to extend Reign FC’s lead to two goals. Once again, Naho was involved in the play, setting up Little with her pass. Little’s shot attempt hit off the goalpost.
Reign FC entered halftime with a 1-0 lead, marking the first time since May Seattle scored a first-half goal, ending a six-game first-half scoreless streak.
Seattle continued to dominate possession in the second half of play, patiently passing the ball around and looking to create chances.
In the 62nd minute, Keelin Winters sent a long ball forward, finding a sprinting Naho behind the Boston defense. Naho controlled the ball and cut inside the penalty box, while Elli Reed made a run to her right that pulled Kallman away from goal and created just enough space for Naho to fire home her second goal of the match and put Reign FC up 2-0.
Naho was awarded Reign FC player of the match for her efforts. Including her 2014 season with the club, the forward has now scored four braces in the last five regular-season Reign FC home games she has started.
“I think she just brings out the best in everybody,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey.
With the shutout, Seattle has now delivered five consecutive clean sheets, which is a new NWSL record. Reign FC are now just two minutes of shutout soccer away from setting a new NWSL record for most consecutive minutes without conceding a goal.
“We turned a little corner in terms of fight and desire to keep those clean sheets, and the fifth consecutive clean sheet is obviously something to be proud of,” said Harvey.
Haley Kopmeyer made three saves on the night in her first start since May 29 in a 0-0 tie against Portland Thorns FC.
“The back line was absolutely phenomenal, they put their body on the line for every ball, every play,” said Kopmeyer. “They are a very smart group.”
Before the match, Reign FC honored Anne Levinson as a Reign FC Legend for her extraordinary achievements on behalf of our community. Levinson has been fighting for women’s rights in the United States as a Seattle Municipal Court judge and was also a leader in keeping the Seattle Storm in Seattle.
Today’s result gives Reign FC 16 points on the season, moving the club up to 5th place on the NWSL table. Seattle is currently just two points out of a playoff slot, behind the Chicago Red Stars who currently sit in 4th with 18 points.
With the loss, the Boston Breakers (1-9-1, 4 pts) remain on 4 points and are anchored in 10th place in the standings. The Portland Thorns solidified their hold on first place with their 2-1 win over Sky Blue FC tonight.
“We’re getting the squad together now and we are going to be really exciting for July, August, and September,” said Fishlock. “I wouldn’t want to play Seattle Reign FC.”
Up next, Reign FC heads back on the road to face the Western New York Flash on July 9 at 4:00 p.m. PT. Seattle will look to maintain its all-time winning record of 5-1-3 against the Flash. Next Saturday’s match will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.
Japanese international midfielder Rumi Utsugi, who was signed by Seattle earlier this year, will join Reign FC this week and will be available for selection in next weekend’s match against the Flash.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Seattle Reign FC (4-3-4, 16 pts) vs. Boston Breakers (1-9-1, 4 pts)
Date: July 2, 2016
Venue: Memorial Stadium
Kickoff: 10:00 p.m. ET
Seattle Reign FC: Kopmeyer, Reed, Corsie, Fletcher, Barnes, Fishlock, Winters (87’ Cruz), Little, Yanez, Melis (70’ Elston), Kawasumi
Substitutes Not Used: Solaun, Tostanoski, Dallstream, Nielsen
Boston Breakers: Kranich, Westphal (75’ Elby), King, Kallman, Pathman, Salem, Wood, Schillgard, McCaffrey, Beckmann (67’ Ratcliffe), Simon (87’ Schoepfer)
Substitutes Not Used: Stout, Verdoia, Kreighoff
Stats Summary: SEA/BOS
Shots: 12 / 6
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 4 / 6
Fouls: 7 / 8
Offside: 4 / 0
BOS – King (Yellow) 40’
BOS – Ratcliffe (Yellow) 72’
Referee: Farhad Dadkho
Assistant Referees: Cory Richardson, Francisco Bermudez
Fourth Official: Seth Martin
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