Photo credit: Seattle Reign FC
Seattle Reign FC Hosts Washington Spirit In NWSL Playoffs tonight
Seattle Reign FC (13-3-4, 43 pts) will play its second playoff match in club history on Sunday, September 13 on the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium against the Washington Spirit (8-6-6, 30 pts) for a berth in the NWSL Championship Match on Thursday, October 1. The match kicks off at 6:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1.
Reign FC concluded the regular season last Saturday, September 5, with a 2-1 victory over Washington Spirit at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md. Midfielder Jessica Fishlock forward Megan Rapinoe each tallied a goal for the visitors.
Fishlock opened the scoring in the 15th minute when a Rapinoe cross into the box was cleared just outside the 18-yard box. The Welsh international settled the ball with her thigh before hitting it off the volley and past Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to put Seattle up 1-0.
Rapinoe doubled Reign FC’s lead 10 minutes later as she gathered a loose ball 25 yards out and took one touch before firing it just out of reach of Harris, who couldn’t keep the blast from distance out of the net.
The Spirit would cut the lead in half in the 36th minute when defender Lauren Barnes was called for a foul on midfielder Diana Matheson inside the box. Matheson stepped up to the spot and fired her kick past goalkeeper Hope Solo to bring the score to 2-1.
Reign FC completed its regular season home schedule undefeated for a second consecutive year with a record of 8-0-2, and extended the overall streak to 23 matches.
Additionally, Seattle finished the regular season atop the league standings and locked down its second NWSL Shield after defeating the Boston Breakers on Wednesday, August 26. Reign FC also outscored opponents 26-8 when at home, and 15-13 when on the road during the regular season.
“We feel like we’re in a good place going into the playoffs,” said head coach and general manager Laura Harvey. “Obviously getting the Shield again was a huge achievement for the team and we always said we wanted to finish the regular season on a high. We are happy that we did that, and now fully focused on Sunday’s game.”
Individually, Scottish international Kim Little had another banner year in Seattle, leading the league in assists with seven and tallying ten goals. Little won Player of the Week once as well as Player of the Month in June following her first NWSL hat-trick.
Beverly Yanez and Jess Fishlock finished the season in the top 10 for goals scored with nine and eight, respectfully, while Megan Rapinoe finished in the top 10 for assists with five.
The Spirit finished the season in fourth place, booking their second post-season trip in club history. Washington is lead by forward Crystal Dunn, who scored 15 goals during the regular season to earn the NWSL Golden Boot award.
Washington’s roster also features U.S. international goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, Canadian international Diana Matheson, Mexican international Arianna Romero, and the Nigerian trio of Francesica Ordega, Ngozi Okobi, and Defender Josephine Chukwunonye. However, the Spirit announced earlier this week that U.S. Women’s National Team defender Ali Krieger would miss Sunday’s match due to a family commitment.
Seattle and Washington met two other times during the regular season, with Reign FC clinching the series with two wins and a loss. The first time the teams squared off on Saturday, May 2 at the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium, Seattle won 3-1, with goals from forwards Beverly Yanez and Merritt Mathias, and midfielder Jessica Fishlock.
In the second meeting, Reign FC traveled to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday, July 18 where Seattle fell to the Spirit 3-0.
“Washington are a great footballing side. Both teams try to play, in my opinion, the right way,” Harvey said. “I think it’s going to be a game of chess at times to try and stop each other.”
The winner of Sunday’s match will play the winner of Sunday’s Chicago Red Stars and FC Kansas City playoff matchup in the NWSL Championship Final on Thursday, October 1 at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.
Visit ReignFC.com or call (855) REIGN-FC for details on NWSL playoff tickets. Seats for Seattle’s NWSL semi-final match against the Washington Spirit on Sunday, September 13 at 6:30 p.m. (PT) on the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium start at $20.
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