Seattle Reign FC are 2015 NWSL Shield winners
Seattle Reign FC (12-3-3, 39 pts) clinched the 2015 NWSL Shield, awarded to the team with the best regular season record, with a 3-1 over the Boston Breakers (4-12-3, 15 pts) on Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 4,484 on the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium.
Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe, defender Kendall Fletcher, and midfielder Kim Little all tallied goals in the victory.
With the win, Seattle remains at the top of the league standings with 39 points, and extended a league winning streak to six matches. The club also extended its unbeaten run at home to 22 matches.
This is the second consecutive season that Reign FC has clinched the NWSL Shield, and the first team to win the award multiple times.
“It feels great to get the Shield. As a group, we are overall disappointed we let a goal in but I thought we dominated the game,” said head coach and general manager Laura Harvey after the match. “I think its a fantastic achievement for the group.”
Reign FC emerged in the first half looking for a goal early on. Danish international Katrine Veje was a force on the left hand side of the pitch. In the 8th minute, the forward drove into the 18-yard box and cut a ball back for Rapinoe whose one-time effort hit off the crossbar.
The home team would continue to press and maintain possession for the majority of the first half. In the 19th minute, Cox sent in a corner kick that fell to defender Rachel Corsie at the top of the box. The Scottish international hit her shot with power but Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was there to make the save.
Just one minute later, Reign FC would capitalize on its high pressure. Little collected a pass in the middle of the pitch and played a give-and-go with Rapinoe. Little then sent it out wide for Cox who sent in a low cross to Rapinoe who finished her shot past Naheher to put the home side up 1-0.
In the 34th minute, Reign FC’s high pressure would pay off once again. Veje collected the ball at the back post before cutting it back for Rapinoe whose one-time effort was saved by Naeher. The ensuing clearance was intercepted by Fletcher at the top of the box who finished her shot into the net to double Reign FC’s lead.
After the break, Reign FC maintained possession with its patient passing. In the 56th minute, defender Stephanie Cox played a long ball that found Rapinoe at the top of the box. Rapinoe’s backheel found its way to Little who gathered the spilled ball and finished past Neaher to extend Reign FC’s lead to 3-0.
The Breakers capitalized off their best chance of the match in the 88th minute as Maddy Evans found space behind Reign FC’s backline and calmly slotted her shot past Solo to pull one back for the visitors.
Reign FC outshot the breakers 13 to six, and put six shots on goal compared to Boston’s three. Rapinoe tallied her fourth goal of the season and fifth assist while Little and Fletcher notched their 10th and second goals of the season, respectively.
On the defensive end, Solo was forced to make just two saves on the night and has four total wins on the season.
Seattle Reign FC: GK Hope Solo, D Rachel Corsie, D Kendall Fletcher, D Lauren Barnes, D Stephanie Cox, M Keelin Winters (Amber Brooks, 64), M Jessica Fishlock, M Kim Little, F Merritt Mathias (Danielle Foxhoven, 71), F Katrine Veje (Michelle Cruz, 82), F Megan Rapinoe
Substitutes not used: Kopmeyer, Dallstream, Bullock, Reed
Boston Breakers: GK Alyssa Naeher, D Kassey Kallman, D Julie King, D Rachel Wood, M Rafaela (Maddy Evans, 74), M Amy Barczuk (Nkem Ezurike, 68), M Kristie Mewis, M Mollie Pathman, M Bia (M Stephanie Verdoia, 62), F Kyah Simon, F Katie Schoepfer
Substitutes not used: Kranich, Lazo, McCaffrey, Marlborough
Source courtesy of: nwslsoccer.com