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Reign Cap Perfect Rivalry Week With 3-0 Win Over Thorns

A Yanez brace and a pair of Kim Little assists drowned Portland in front of a record crowd at Memorial Stadium.

Mike Russell

In front of a record crowd of 6,303 fans, Seattle's stars put on a show in a thorough takedown of their rivals from down south.

Memorial Stadium has never witnessed a Cascadia Rivalry match worthy of the name, really. The reversal of the Reign's fortunes in the wake of the inaugural season manifests itself nowhere else as much as in their matches against Portland. The Thorns won all four matches in 2013, and only one of the five since. Twice the Thorns have visited the Reign's home in Lower Queen Anne. In those two matches Seattle has scored eight goals and surrendered none.

Today's edition was, like the midweek game in Portland, compact and even early. The Thorns' high pressure forced the Reign's usually reliable midfielders into a handful of turnovers, but the chances exclusively became hopeful balls to Christine Sinclair and died out. In the other direction, Seattle's buildup was better but the final ball was lacking. Megan Rapinoe had an early good chance but her quick shot went well over Nadine Angerer's bar. Rapinoe played a clever one-two with Jess Fishlock that put her through, but her shot went into the side netting.

Then in the 39th minute, the breakthrough came — as it often does — through the Reign's wonder-duo. Kim Little played a perfect through ball to put Fishlock into the box ahead of the defense and Seattle's Welsh star shot tapped it around Angerer for the lead.

The small lead made it a pleasant halftime for Reign fans (and less so for the 40 or so traveling Thorns fans), but things got very pleasant very quickly thereafter. A minute after the restart Kim Little got time to measure a cross from the wing and she dropped it onto the head of Bev Yanez, who redirected it deftly into the net to double the lead.

Then just a couple of minutes later Yanez completed her brace when Rapinoe was left totally unmarked off of a corner and she put in a low, hard cross for Bev to poke in to push the lead to three.

After that it was just a matter of seeing the win out. The game got stretched as Portland looked for an equalizer, but they still created few chances and the open field gave Seattle quite a few more. Katrine Veje in particular had a number of good chances and deliveries as a substitute, but none came off and the final whistle came with the score still 3-0.

The win puts Seattle back on top of the standings, a point ahead of Chicago and with the best goal differential in the league. And the loss leaves the Thorns in 8th place, just a point ahead of Boston in last and quickly running out of time to make a playoff push. Now the Reign turn their focus to another cross-continent trip to take on Boston next weekend.

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