Reign FC defeats Spirit 6-2 in Seattle

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Seattle Reign FC 6
Washington Spirit 2
NWSL Regular Season
May 13, 2107 – Seattle, WA – Memorial Stadium

Washington Spirit and Seattle Reign FC entered Saturday’s week 5 NWSL match needing points to move up the league table and out of the log jam of 8 teams with three points separating them.

The early pace was steady, with both sides getting a few chances. Jess Fishlock and Francisca Ordega both got fairly clear for their respective sides early on but without result. Neither keeper was exceptionally challenged early.

The match was a return to Seattle for Havana Solaun, with the Reign’s Christine Nairn squaring off against her former team.

Nairn then grabbed her first of the year off of a Naho Kawasumi lay off in the 20th minute. Naho had stolen the ball and after a little give and go with Bev Yanez, Kawasumi found her angle was poor and she calmly set it to Nairn for the laser to the far post. Kawasumi was not done with all that early work; as the match progressed she would grab her first of the season and be credited with an NWSL record four assists, with a case being made that it could be five.

Bev Yanez got on the end of another Naho Kawasumi assist, beating the Spirit defender near post with an outside of the foot touch to make it two nil.

Seattle is a possession team, but that has not always led to goals. When the goals come, especially early, the patient Reign can make a team chase for long stretches of time. For the first half, Seattle maintained much of the possession and controlled the match.

Adjustments followed the half as Washington moved into a three back formation that paid early dividends, putting the Reign on their heels for some time. The Spirit got one back in the 60th when Reign defender Rachel Corsie got called for a hand ball and Solaun stepped up to convert, beating an outstretched Haley Kopmeyer. The equalizer nearly came within a few minutes as the pressing forward continued to work.

But, after the Spirit goal and several minutes, Seattle picked back up the control and grabbed 4 goals in 11 minutes as Rapinoe and Kawasumi took turns assisting on goals, Lindsay Elston coming on as a sub and scoring within minutes, and a sudden 5 goal lead at 6-1. Katie Johnson was active and involved in the offense off the bench, being a part of the build up to a couple of the latter goals.

Washington played out the 90 minutes hard and grabbed one back late on a set piece as Kristie Mewis got a goal the 88th when a long through ball somehow got over and bounced to the far post.

3,007 fans watched as Seattle grabbed the big three points to move into 2nd with 8 points overall after week 5 with Washington remaining at 4 points, but with big NWSL signing Mallory Pugh coming to training on Tuesday.

Photos by Vanya Tucherov

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