A week after a physical Cascadia clash against the Portland Thorns, the Seattle Reign FC returned home, hosted the Washington Spirit, and put on a memorable performance — highlighted by Nahomi Kawasumi.
The 3,007 in attendance saw Kawasumi put on a single-game performance for the ages, collecting a goal and four assists. Yes, you read that correctly, four assists in a single-game. And yes, that is a NWSL single-game record.
Kawasumi's four assists set up goals for Christine Nairn (20th minute), Bev Yanez (35th minute), Megan Rapinoe (71st minute), and Lindsey Elston (79th minute). She also claimed a goal for herself in the 68th minute. Rapinoe added a second, non-Kawasumi assisted goal to make the total six; a franchise record in an NWSL match.
That spin by Naho and dump off to Nairn and just like that the Reign are up 1-0 on the Spirit. pic.twitter.com/Uohmypq0EN— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) May 13, 2017
Naho sets it up, and Bev Yanez finishes it. Reign up 2-0 on Spirit. pic.twitter.com/DlovyyRis6— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) May 13, 2017
Washington Spirit did find the back of the net twice today as former Reign FC midfielder Havana Solaun converted a penalty in the 60th minute after a handball in the box was called on defender Rachel Corsie. The goal cut Reign's lead in half, making it 2-1 at the time, and Washington’s adjustment to go to a three-back served as a wakeup call to the Reign.
Megan Rapinoe post-match said Washington's penalty was something of a wakeup call to the Reign after starting the second half, in her words, "Like shit." When the Spirit switched to a three-back to keep up the pressure and hopefully grab the second to equalize, the Reign went into another gear and punished the visitors.
Kawasumi's goal in the 68th minute kicked off a 10-minute sequence that became nearly impossible to keep up with. As soon as the game would reset after the Reign scored, they would have the ball again and almost immediately manage a shot on Washington's goal. Take a look at our tweets as the ten minute onslaught was happening.
REIGN FC GOAL! NAHO KAWASUMI!— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) May 13, 2017
REIGN FC GOAL AGAIN! MEGAN RAPINOE!— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) May 13, 2017
Naho & Pinoe combine their powers to just clown the Spirit backline & Labbe. pic.twitter.com/yX9100SorP— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) May 13, 2017
Before Pinoe's goal, here was Naho's goal. pic.twitter.com/E1hrTKtayF— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) May 13, 2017
Naho to Katie Johnson to Pinoe. pic.twitter.com/YTwy7fgtcH— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) May 13, 2017
REIGN FC AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN! LINDSEY ELSTON JOINS THE SCORE SHEET!— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) May 13, 2017
Naho set this up for Elston to finish. That gives Naho 4 assists in a game. We're pretty sure that is a NWSL single-game record. pic.twitter.com/fja8j32i9N— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) May 13, 2017
Four goals within 10 minutes. Like playing FIFA on amateur, Reign FC had their way with Washington’s backline. Washington's second goal came in the 88th minute after Kristie Mewis connected on a Whitney Church free kick that went near post and snuck by Reign FC goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer. Consolation goal to say the least, as Saturday was all about the Reign FC.
The Reign aren't at that level where their performances feel complete, they'll admit. However, you could not ask for a better performance coming off a rivalry game than what happened today at Memorial Stadium. They'll look to continue this performance next Sunday as they host the Orlando Pride.