Rapinoe Breaks Seattle All-Time Goal Record in 3–1 Win Over Houston
After falling behind 1-0 early in the match, Seattle Reign FC (7-3-5, 26 points) stormed back for a 3-1 victory over Houston Dash (4-5-6, 17 points) on Saturday, July 7 on the UW Medicine Pitch at Memorial Stadium.
Jodie Taylor scored the equaliser in the 37th minute, followed by a record-breaking goal from Megan Rapinoe and a dagger off the foot of Allie Long. With the win, Reign FC has now earned points in six of its seven home matches this season.
The night started with a heavy dose of Reign FC offense. The ball stayed mostly in Seattle’s offensive third for the first ten minutes. Theresa Nielsen created a chance in the fifth minute with a throw-in to the box that bounced around in front of Houston keeper Jane Campbell. The brief opportunity ended without a shot, and minutes later Seattle had another chance ended when Steph Catley’s left-footed cross barely missed connecting with Jodie Taylor’s run.
After the ten-minute mark, Houston began to make its way down the pitch. Lydia Williams batted away her first save of the night on a Sofia Huerta shot from 25 yards out. Off the ensuing corner kick, Huerta whipped a ball into the box for Amber Brooks. The Houston defender elevated and knocked the ball into the corner of the goal, putting the Dash ahead 1-0 and notching Brooks’ first goal of the season. Not long after, Seattle was playing with an energized pace and moving forward with fury. This resulted in a 21st-minute corner kick, where Megan Rapinoe nearly equalized the match by dotting a corner kick on the far post. Campbell punched it away just seconds before the ball could reach the net.
Rapinoe took another set piece in the 28th minute after Catley was brought down for a foul. Standing behind the ball on the left wing, Rapinoe stepped toward the ball and then hesitated, hoping to draw Houston’s defense out of position. When she finally struck the ball, it curled toward the far post and over Campbell’s head, but missed the goal by a whisker. Kyah Simon carried the ball down the wing for Houston’s next opportunity. When she delivered her cross, it failed to link with any of her teammates and went out for a goal kick.
As they’ve done all season, Catley and Rapinoe worked in harmony down the left flank. They combined to earn a Seattle corner in the 34th, which Rapinoe sent a bit over the head of a jumping Allie Long. Nielsen intercepted a pass in Houston’s end in just seconds later. Moving toward the goal with great pace, she played a ball onto Jodie Taylor’s run, but Taylor was called offside.
It wouldn’t take long for Taylor to raise havoc again. After being tackled by Brooks on the previous attempt, Taylor got free in the 37th minute for a shot on goal. Seeing Campbell leave her line, Taylor lifted a left-footed chip shot over her head and into the goal. Taylor’s fifth goal of the season tied her with Rapinoe for the team lead and tied the match at one. Rapinoe earned an assist for the throw-in that sprung Taylor free.
In the 44th minute, Nielsen made her impact felt again by breaking up a Houston cross. The Danish defender stepped in to stop the ball mid-flight, and Rumi Utsugi cleared the ball out of the box. As play moved to the other end of the pitch, Rapinoe, Taylor, and Addo strung together a series of passes. Addo had the ball on her feet from the left side of the box, and managed to get a corner kick for her efforts. Rapinoe sent her fifth and final corner of the first half into the penalty area where Houston’s defense stopped the threat. This brought an end to the half with the teams tied at one, each having recorded at least three shots.
Reign FC wasted no time getting things going in the second half. Addo raced into the box in the 47th minute and collided with a Houston defender. The tackle was deemed legal and did not result in a foul. The ball would immediately find Taylor, who had her shot at a second goal saved in the middle of the frame. Utsugi tried her first shot of the night as the offensive barrage continued, but her try was too tall to bother Campbell.
In the 51st minute, Megan Oyster placed a beautiful long-range ball into the box. It came down for a sprinting Rapinoe, who worked a corner kick by rocketing a short-angle shot off Campbell’s hands. The corner did not produce a goal, but did well to keep the pressure on a tiring Houston defense.
Allysha Chapman brought Elizabeth Addo down in the box on a reckless challenge in the 55th minute, resulting in a penalty kick for Seattle. As Rapinoe stepped up to take the penalty, she did so with a chance to surpass Kim Little for most goals in Reign FC history. The U.S. national would do just that, blistering a shot into the top of the goal for her sixth of the season, 33rd of her Seattle career, and the go-ahead goal in this match.
Chapman’s woes would continue when she received a yellow card in the 59th minute, again for a tackle on Addo. This one sent Addo to the turf in some pain, and she would eventually leave the pitch after being replaced by Nahomi Kawasumi. Running nearly an identical play to the one that resulted in the first goal, Rapinoe entered a throw-in for Taylor in the 70th minute. Hitting a half-volley, Taylor swung her right foot and propelled the ball at Campbell. This one failed to clear the Houston goalkeeper, instead settling into her arms.
Houston made their first substitution of the evening in the 73rd minute. Vera Pauw called on Nichelle Prince to replace Kyah Simon at the forward position. This came right on the heels of a Lydia Williams save, marking some of her only action in the second half. One match after holding Portland to zero shots on goal, Seattle excelled again at keeping their opponents from getting scoring chances.
Vlatko Andonovski would make two more substitutions to close out the match. He inserted Jasmyne Spencer for Taylor in the 84th minute, allowing the home crowd to give Taylor a standing ovation. Seattle subsequently added its third and final goal of the match when its two U.S. national team players joined forces. Rapinoe laid a pass for Long, who lasered a powerful shot into the back of the net. This all but sank Houston’s comeback chances, and gave Long her third goal of 2018. The screamer into Houston’s net also put Seattle at three goals for the first time since scoring four on Sky Blue FC on May 12.
The final substitution brought Kristen McNabb on for Bev Yanez in the 90th minute. The fourth official signaled for six minutes of stoppage time, during which neither team scored again. Rapinoe took a yellow card for shooting after a whistle in the 94th, but with a two-goal lead in the bag, Reign FC coasted to the finish line for a hard-earned home victory.
Reign FC has a quick turnaround for its next match on July 11, when they’ll host Utah Royals FC in Laura Harvey’s return to Seattle. The match gets underway at 7:30 p.m. PT from the UW Medicine Pitch at Memorial Stadium. Tickets are available at www.reignfc.com/tickets.