The Seattle Reign FC continued their road trip on Sunday, facing off against the Chicago Red Stars. A win today would have put the Reign FC in second place on the league table heading into a FIFA international break. However that was not the case today.
A goal in the 49th minute from Red Stars forward Christen Press is all Chicago needed to secure the 3 points today.
The first half was a scoreless one but not for lack of effort. Both goalkeepers Alyssa Naeher and Haley Kopmeyer were busy for their respective teams in the first half.
Seattle had some promising runs on the Red Stars goal, however it lacked that quality final ball necessary to be a goalkeeper of Alyssa Naeher's caliber.
The second half saw some immediate action as right from the restart Katie Johnson in her first start of the season got a shot off from outside the box. From then on it was all Red Stars as they pushed forward, constantly disrupting Seattle's passing channels. Their efforts were rewarded as a clearance attempt by Haley Kopmeyer went wrong as Julie Ertz intercepted it and from there, it went a little something like this...
Even after breaking the deadlock, Chicago continued their press and it had Seattle rattled. Whenever Kopmeyer would go for a goal kick, her timing was disrupted as likely what she was seeing was a Red Stars player close enough to disrupt the channels. Surely a frustrating but incredibly effective tactic against a team like Seattle that is reliant on their midfield having the ball. It set the tone in silencing the midfield trio of Nairn, Fishlock, and Utsugi and wingers Megan Rapinoe and Nahomi Kawasumi. Seattle would find the spark to push in the final ten minutes to try and get an equalizer and steal a point on the road, but it was too little, too late.
Despite her clearance didn’t go the way anyone wanted, Kopmeyer put in some incredible saves to keep the scoreline at just 1-0. The NWSL might have some trouble in picking which of her saves today would be up as a Save of the Week nominee, but this one in the first half could be it.
Or maybe this one in the second half.
We like Seattle Reign FC goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer. pic.twitter.com/bSKQFWoeW6— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) June 4, 2017
While we've lauded how good the Seattle Reign FC are in the confines of Memorial Stadium, they are night & day when it comes to playing at Chicago. Whether it's the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complext or Toyota Park, the Seattle Reign FC have not won a match against the Red Stars when they are the visitors. To this date, Seattle has only picked up two draws in Chicago, though they get another chance this season when Seattle has another road game against the Red Stars in August.
Today's result puts Seattle in fifth on the league table going into the FIFA international break. Rumi Utsugi (Japan), Rachel Corsie (Scotland) and Megan Rapinoe (USA) were called into their senior national teams for this break. Defender Kristen McNabb could also see some national team minutes as she was called into the US U-23s squad.
Seattle's next NWSL match will be against FC Kansas City on Saturday, June 17 with a scheduled kickoff of 1 PM.