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Laura Harvey: “You saw the true Seattle Reign tonight.”

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Post-match quotes from the team on Keelin’s final home match & how they approached the national anthem last night.

Reign vs. Spirit: Photos

Last night’s Reign FC victory over the Washington Spirit will go down as one of the most important matches in the team’s short history. The importance of keeping their playoff hopes alive as well as it being a proper sendoff for captain Keelin Winters made for a special night. After the match, head coach Laura Harvey, Beverly Yanez, Megan Rapinoe and the woman of the hour, Keelin Winters offered the following comments.

Head Coach Laura Harvey

On if a better script could have been written last night:

“No, I said before the game to the girl that the thing we wanted to do is to try and make the last game Keelin potentially plays matters. So this matters. We’re now in a position that Houston matters. And if you know, we can get a result in Houston and things go our way elsewhere, then the next games matter, and I just felt that was a sentiment that just sums up Keelin really. That, this matters to her and it matters the way she goes out and I’m just really pleased that she has the chance to go out with whatever game she ends up playing having a meaning. I didn’t want us to go to Houston and not having any real bearing on anything and we now know that it potentially does.”

On if she was surprised by the team’s inspired performance:

“No, I think with the week we’ve had, obviously a long road trip to Chicago and Washington and the results not going the way we wanted, we wanted to come back and put that right. It’s been an emotional week for everybody and I think the Keelin retiring part of it was the icing on the cake to push everybody over the edge and I think you saw the true Seattle Reign tonight and I’m just really proud of that.”

On Megan Rapinoe going 75 minutes in her first start of 2016:

“I didn’t think she’d go that long to be honest, but she felt really good at halftime. And I think with Pinoe now it’s not about her injury and how far she can go, but it’s how far her lungs will let her go, so I think you saw probably five minutes before we brought her off that her passes started to go astray a little bit, she couldn’t track back the way she was, and I think that’s a reflection of fatigue. I was pleased that she was able to get on the field for 75 minutes and you saw what she brings to the team.”

On goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer & the back line’s performance:

“I thought the whole back line were excellent. And you know I think Washington were a real dangerous side on set pieces tonight and I think it didn’t take just Haley to stop that. It took numerous people, when she was there, when she was needed. I just spoke to her I think one of the big things about tonight that was a difference from Wednesday was that she was so calm at the back and such a calming influence when were playing out from the back. We kept playing out and that’s our team when we do that and we keep doing it. Even under a lot of pressure, teams find it hard to play against us and (that’s) just how it is.”

On the team locking arms during the national anthem on the 15th anniversary of 9/11:

“We had discussions about it, we heard about what the Seahawks were gonna do, and we’re now in a position where we feel as a group that we wanna put together what we feel our message is around that. As a group we’re going to come together - the girls got a little bit of time off so it may not be in the next couple of days, but we want to come together and decide what we really want to do as a group moving forward. We knew that they were thinking about doing something. We spoke to the players and they told us what they were thinking about doing and we just kept a very simple approach of there’s no pressure from the club to do anything. It’s your choice as a person to decide the way you wanna to approach today with it being such a really important day in the history of this country. We felt it was really important that everybody decided to honor it in anyway they wanted to and I think that happened. (And) I think it showed that they are respectful of everybody’s feelings and their own feelings around that. And also what the anthem and the flag means to different people, especially on a day like today where it’s about more than us, it’s about what people gave up for us to keep living the lives we live.”

On lineup tweaks and how it affects the attack coming out of the defense:

“We now have options. I said that a couple weeks ago. Having a fully fit squad gives us options. Some of the girls have to go off to international duty. Some of the girls get a break, which after having three games in seven days we definitely need that. So we’ll have a few days break and then we’ll come back to training and asses what we feel is right to beat Houston. And that was sort of our mindset going into the Chicago game and going into the Washington first game was what do we need to put on the field to win those games. Tonight, I think we got it right. I think it was Naho coming on for Manon, gave them a different outlook. Manon is exceptional at start of games for us and I thought we could have found her a bit more in the start of the game than we did. I think since Bev came out of the starting lineup and has gone back in, I think she’s added an extra ten, fifteen percent to her game. I just think now we’ve got options and the girls are really invested in making sure that we have the best chance at winning games and that’s what we wanna do.”

Forward Beverly Yanez

On her goal:

“I thought it was a great buildup from the team overall, and Pinoe put a ridiculous ball across the box. As I started the run I kinda picked my head up and saw I could get to there first to the back post so I raised my hand and put it down and saw her make eye contact. So I knew right then and there just get to the back post as quickly as I can because the ball is going to come because she’s going to play a great ball. I know she is. Really thankful to score and get on the sheet, but overall we had a really great game tonight, so I’m really happy about that moving forward.”

On Keelin Winters’ goal:

“I freaked out (laughs) but just so much excitement. We needed another goal, you know 1-0, 2-0 are pretty dangerous leads so we really needed that second goal and it’s just perfect that it was her.”

Midfielder Megan Rapinoe

On her first start of the season going 74 minutes, thoughts on the game:

“Shocked that I made it that far. (laughs) Honestly really I didn’t think I was going to be able to play that long, but I actually felt pretty good. I think while the road trip was tough because it was just getting back and all the travel, I think just the minutes under my belt is what I really need. I was able to cut one across for Bev, we generally have a pretty good connection when she plays up front like that, so she was able to get on the end of it and just a fantastic team win. I mean obviously to have Keelin score on her final game here at Memorial is exactly what she deserved, so pretty happy overall.”

On if there was a minutes count for her first start:

“We really didn’t set on a number. She asked me what I thought and I figured maybe 60 would be what I’d be able to do, but I felt good. We had a chat at halftime, just briefly and told her I felt good and I think one more time in the second half reached out (and asked) if I was good and I guess I didn’t look too tired or else she would have taken me out. I think I was still being effective. It was good for me to get those minutes especially moving forward, we have two big games coming up with the national team and then come back, we have a huge game with the Reign.”

On the team locking arms during the national anthem:

“I don’t think I’ve ever thought as much as I have these last few days about all of this stuff. Obviously with the Seahawks coming out and doing what they did earlier today, the Storm I think did the same thing and inter-locked arms in their national anthem. Obviously, struggling a lot with it being 9/11 and in general, wanting to be as effective as I can be in this space and still exercise my right to protest and talk about what I really want to talk about, which as been difficult. A lot of people don’t want to talk about that, it’s all about the vehicle of protest or what I’m doing or about the military or about being American. But I felt today this was the right thing to do, I think being able to have teammates with me also I think all of us standing together was respectful in light of it being 9/11 so that’s how that came about. Still sort of reserving my right to work through the rest of the games I’ll have to play in the coming future. I don’t know exactly but I think that’s okay and I’m being thoughtful, as thoughtful as I can in trying to work through the best way and most effective way to reach the most people and have the conversations that really need to be had. We’ve seen stuff like this pop up for a long time, you have the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, when the Trayvon Martin incident happen they had the black hoodies, the black t-shirts the WNBA wore, we’ve had these protest going on, this issue needs to be talked about much more and it needs to be much more than the type of protest that the players are engaging in. I think it needs to be actually about what we’re saying, hopefully we’re moving forward into that space and people are willing to talk about it. I think people who have been crazily upset about the type of protest need to also look in the mirror and realize that maybe that’s not the most appropriate response when I think it’s pretty obvious what we’re trying to talk about. So hopefully this will continue the conversation and I felt today, this was the appropriate the way to keep saying what I’m saying and honor the first responders, victims, families and everybody who was affected, which is every American on 9/11. It’s a very important day for us.”

On the reception she got at home compared to the negative response online:

“I understand very much how lucky I am to live in Seattle. We live in a very special city, a pretty accepting city, a pretty progressive city and even just in general with the fans in D.C. they were very supportive and other people I’ve come across have been very supportive. So I wasn’t totally surprised, it was heartening because I think that those cheers were mean more than just they’re happy to see me. I think it means there’s huge amount of support for what conversation I’m trying to be involved in and for what the Seahawks are trying to be involved in, and originally what Colin Kaepernick is trying to be involved in, and Eric Reid, Jeremy Lane, the other players that knelt today, some players that raised their fists, locked arms. I think that they’re showing support for that and that’s what means the most to me.”

On hoping to get the same amount of minutes with the upcoming USWNT friendlies:

“Yeah, I’d love to be able to dictate my minutes on the national team, that’d be great. (laughs) If that’s something that can be possible, I need minutes at this point. I think that would be incredibly helpful for me if that fits in with what the national team is doing. I know that honestly a lot of players for the national team are just tired and have been going since the beginning of 2014, so I’m in a little different spot. They’re kind of needing to probably level out a bit and I need the opposite so maybe that’ll play out in my favor.”

Captain, midfielder Keelin Winters

On if her home finale could have been scripted any better:

“Definitely not. Obviously I want to score in every game but with my position, I don’t get that many scoring opportunities but for it to come at my last game at Memorial Stadium, it means the world to me. More importantly, it gives us hope to keep our playoff hopes alive, so for me that’s the biggest thing.”

On if she knew right away it was going to find the back of the net:

“Yeah, all I was thinking was don’t hit it over. Just keep it low, but as soon as I made contact with the ball, I knew it was in and you can tell from my reaction how much it meant to me.”

On if there’s a sense of relief knowing the team’s playoff chance is still alive:

“Yeah I would say there’s definitely some relief. Talk about pressure. Knowing you have to win. If you drop any points, it just cuts off your hopes for the playoffs. So there’s definitely a bit of relief that it still gives us something to hang onto. It’s hope for making into the playoffs and achieving ultimately what we’ve set out to do which is win the NWSL title and bring it home to Seattle.”

Reign FC are off this week along with the rest of the league as it’s a FIFA international window. Megan Rapinoe (United States), Jess Fishlock (Wales), and Kim Little (Scotland) have been called up to their respective national teams. Reign FC’s regular season finale is on the road against the Houston Dash, scheduled for Sunday, September 25 under the bright lights of a national TV broadcast on FOX Sports 1.