Reign FC Draw With Sky Blue FC in 2017 NWSL Opener

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Seattle Reign FC 1
Sky Blue FC 1
NWSL Regular Season – Match Day 1
April 15, 2017 – Memorial Stadium – Seattle, WA

Seattle Reign FC did not lose a home match on the Memorial Stadium pitch in either 2014 or 2015, leading to many supporters referring to the stadium as Fortress Memorial. Sky Blue FC came to Seattle for the 2016 opener and ended the streak 2-1. 2017 found the same to sides facing each other for the home opener for Seattle Saturday night.

Both sides missed the NWSL Playoffs in 2016. Seattle is looking for a bounce back season while Sky Blue is looking to develop and move forward. The Reign are also moving forward without Kim Little driving the offense and Hope Solo in the nets.

Kopmeyer entered both the 2015 and 2016 season knowing there would be blocks of time where she would be the starter while Solo would be on national team duty, but 2017 is the first season she went into camp looking to be the actual number one. Kopmeyer’s low save on a deflection in the 20th minute showcased why Coach Laura Harvey has had so much faith in her development.

Although Seattle got some early chances, much of the first half saw Sky Blue take it to the Seattle defense, getting a number of excellent opportunities. The two sides entered the half goalless.

The 2nd half started briskly, with Seattle taking it right to the Sky Blue defense and the visitors taking it and countering. Play was more physical as the first half progressed and that continued into second, leading to Pinoe both drawing and taking a PK in the 56th minute for a 1-nil Seattle lead.

Six minutes later, Kelley O’Hara was fouled in the box and Sarah Killion stepped up and converted, bringing the match level.

Both sides brought in fresh legs as the match wound down, still pressing for the three points neither side would grab on the night. Seattle nearly grabbed the winner, but a Matthias header was over the bar.

After the match players and coaches both expressed relief at the single point in the first match, lamenting missed opportunities that would have brought a different result.

Scoring Summary:

SEA – Rapinoe (PEN) 56’

NJ – Killion (PEN) 62’

Lineups:

Seattle Reign FC: Kopmeyer, Pickett, Barnes, McNabb, Mathias, Fishlock, Yanez, Nairn (Dallstream 74’), Rapinoe (Stott 86’), Elston (Utsugi 66’), Kawasumi

Substitutes Not Used: Corsie, Reed, Schiffel, Johnson

Sky Blue FC: Sheridan, Skroski, Freeman, Pearce, Mills, Galton (Hayes 83’), Killion, Rodriguez, Lytle (Corboz 73’), Kerr, O’Hara

Substitutes Not Used: Casey, Stanton, Simon

Stats Summary: SEA/NJ
Shots: 11 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6
Saves: 8 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 4
Fouls: 5 / 2
Offside: 5 / 1

Misconduct Summary:

SEA – Mathias (Yellow) 62’

Officials:
Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Weed, Cephas Quartson
Fourth Official: Levi Rippy

Photos by Vanya Tucherov

Sky Blue FC

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