Seattle Reign FC concluded their three matches in a week run with a trip to Toyota Park for a Saturday night match against the Chicago Red Stars. In a tight, physical game, a late Sam Kerr goal sent Reign FC home without a point.
Both sides saw some chances in the first half with Seattle getting more, forcing Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher into activity, but the first 45 was scoreless and overshadowed by an unfortunate and scary injury. In the 38th minute, Red Stars defender Arin Gilliland and Reign FC defender Steph Catley both went up for a 50/50 ball and it appeared they made contact with each other, resulting in Gilliland down. She would eventually be stretchered out and transferred into an ambulance for a possible head and/or neck injury. At the time of publication, no updates have been released by the Red Stars about the extent of her injury, and likely an update won’t come until Monday.
The second half saw more of the same from the first prior to the Gilliland injury. Both sides had their chances but lacked that final touch to send the ball into the back of the net. Chicago would be forced again to use a substitution due to injury as midfielder Danielle Colaprico and Jess Fishlock collided in the air after both went for a 50/50 ball. Seattle would bring Adriana Leon and Jasmyne Spencer into the second half to exploit fatigue, and they had their chances to open up the scoring.
62' Adriana Leon almost opened up her Reign FC goal account with this one. #CHIvSEA pic.twitter.com/4NG1uAg14X— Ride of the Valkyries (@rovalks) July 15, 2018
78' Oh if this Jasmyne Spencer shot wasn't saved, what a way for her to open her Reign FC goal account. #CHIvSEA pic.twitter.com/b9GCiza44u— Ride of the Valkyries (@rovalks) July 15, 2018
However, it was the play after Seattle’s third change — defender Kristen McNabb for midfielder Beverly Yanez in the 86th minute — that would be their downfall. The goal kick from Michelle Betos didn’t get up the field as probably anyone in Seattle wanted, and it found the head of Red Stars midfielder Yuki Nagasato, who directed it to forward Sam Kerr and, well…
Who else, but @samkerr1 places it far post to give the @chiredstarsPR a 1-0 lead in the 87th minute!#CHIvSEA | #NWSL pic.twitter.com/GQhjISTdme— NWSL (@NWSL) July 15, 2018
And that is how Seattle Reign FC close their latest spell of three matches in a week. Though in stoppage time, Seattle had a corner kick, and Betos came up for it and almost added to the lore of what happens when goalkeeper Michelle Betos comes up for corner kicks.
Now this looks almost very familiar...@MichelleBetos #CHIvSEA | #NWSL pic.twitter.com/2A9ctlRZg4— NWSL (@NWSL) July 15, 2018
Alas, it was not meant to be and Seattle’s winning streak stops at three matches. Despite the loss, Seattle remains second on the table, though with results around the league, Orlando Pride and Chicago Red Stars picking up points tonight does shrink Reign FC’s lead above them to just one point — though Seattle still has a game in hand.
So of course, Seattle’s next match will be against the Orlando Pride down at Orlando City Stadium as they close out the regular season trilogy next Saturday. Rumor has it U.S. Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis will again call her players in for training camp next weekend ahead of the Tournament of Nations, leaving both sides without key players.
With the race for the NWSL Playoffs well underway, both sides will want the full three points to solidify their ambitions for post-season play on top of having a clear winner in the regular-season series. The last two matches between Seattle and Orlando were draws. Kickoff for next weekend’s match is scheduled for 1 PM PST, as it’s the NWSL Game of the Week and will be broadcast on Lifetime Network.