After last weekend's eight-goal adventure, Memorial Stadium had a more down to earth scoreline Sunday night, as Seattle Reign FC hosted the Orlando Pride to a 1-1 draw.
Albeit it was more frustrating on Seattle's part as the bite that was in their offense last week came more in spurts this time around. Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey said, "I just didn't think we were ruthless enough in their box."
Certainly, Orlando did their part in keeping Reign FC forwards Megan Rapinoe and Nahomi Kawasumi honest and influencing enough of their timing and space to make sure that final ball didn't have the bite we saw last week. The visitors needed to stay composed and solid, especially after goalkeeper and captain Ashlyn Harris left the game in the 26th minute.
After a goal kick, Harris went down on the turf, clutching at her waist. It'd be a few minutes later that she left the game and former Reign and Sky Blue goalkeeper Caroline Stanley was called upon to finish the match. Stanley had only signed with Orlando a few days ago due to an injury to goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. After the match, Pride head coach Tom Sermanni said that Harris' injury could be hip related, but nothing was certain until a full and proper assessment was made when the team returns to Orlando.
Seattle's goal came in the 40th minute when a cross from Rapinoe found defender Rachel Corsie in the box. Her shot trickled through a couple Pride defenders, and forward Beverly Yanez managed to get enough of a touch on it to get it into Orlando's net.
Cross from Pinoe to Corsie who went for goal but Yanez was there with just enough of sun-kissed touch for the goal. pic.twitter.com/MKStLf4dHn— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) May 22, 2017
Orlando's goal came in the 52nd minute after Camila pounced on a Reign turnover and passed it to Marta, who finished to draw it level. It was the fact that Seattle coughed up the ball in their own defensive third that was a problem for Harvey. While she credited goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer making some good saves, the fact that the saves were needed after Seattle gave up the ball was what Harvey didn't like. Orlando's equalizer started from an errant pass by Kopmeyer and with miscommunication between her and midfielder Jess Fishlock.
Marta equalizes. 1-1 in #SEAvORL pic.twitter.com/3sXJLmO40Y— Our Game Magazine (@OurGameMagazine) May 22, 2017
In the end it was opposite of the razzle, dazzle that the Reign put on the week before. And while no one will ever turn down a game in which the Seattle Reign FC score three, four, five, or more goals in a match, it's the ones where the scoreboard only reads 1-0 that Harvey said the team has to get back to winning out. "We've got to get back to learning how to win games one-nil. Tonight's a game we should have won one-nil."
There was another encouraging appearance from forward Katie Johnson, who entered for Seattle in the 64th minute, and as it's been the case so far for the rookie, when she enters the game, things happen. She's becoming quite the spark of energy in Seattle's attack off the bench and while that final ball quality eluded Seattle tonight, her presence sure made it look like Seattle was going to find that match-winner.
After the match, Johnson said that she was tasked with watching Yanez throughout the match, seeing what she was doing to create space and chances against Orlando's defense. Take into consideration defender Kristen McNabb's first two starts and what Johnson is doing off the bench, Seattle's rookies sure are making some solid contributions these first two months of the season.
Reign FC are in road trip mode for the next three matches, as this Saturday they're down in Houston to face the Dash under the national TV spotlight as they're the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.