The night started off festive as the Seattle Reign FC celebrated head coach and general manager Laura Harvey coaching in her 100th NWSL regular season match. Unfortunately the night did not end with a celebratory spirit as the Reign FC and Boston Breakers played to a 1-1 draw.
Seattle's goal came in the 36th minute as Breakers goalkeeper Abby Smith attempted a clearance but didn't get all of it and the ball took a teardrop just outside the penalty box and forward Nahomi Kawasumi measured it and sent a looping shot over Smith to open the scoring. The goal was Kawasumi's fourth on the season, putting her second place on the club behind Megan Rapinoe.
And odd bounce of a Breakers player is set up on a platter for Naho to calmly strike from distance. 1-0 Seattle. pic.twitter.com/DOlyDER2N3— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) July 16, 2017
Seattle looked to carry the lead into halftime, however in the 43rd minute, Breakers forward Adriana Leon came in darting into the box and connected on a cross from defender Christen Westphal perfectly placed right at the door to Seattle's goal to equalize.
Adriana Leon connects on a cross right at the door for the goal. Collided with Kopmeyer/accidental boot to Kopmeyer's head. pic.twitter.com/jq0j8i6r63— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) July 16, 2017
The second half had some chances for the Reign but they lacked that little bit of quality needed on the finish. Notably from the efforts was midfielder Lindsay Elston who was given the freedom to shoot if she feels she has a chance. As it's often said that sometimes goals happen because of a fortunate bounce or deflection. If Elston's efforts had just a sprinkling of those, we'd probably be talking about a Reign FC victory with a Lindsay Elston brace.
Lindsay Elston with the classic rebound it off a defender so you can turn around and attempt from distance trick. pic.twitter.com/LXx3ahbpKx— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) July 16, 2017
For the visitors, they came into Memorial Stadium and left with a point. Not many teams do that when visiting Memorial Stadium, to which Breakers head coach Matt Beard was pleased with his team's performance. "I’m really pleased. I felt like we should have won the game to be completely honest with you, especially the way we played in the second half. This is a tough place to come, we know that they’ll press us hard to start off with the tempo and we sort of played into that trap a little bit but I thought the second half we did a much better job of it. The goal came for a good time for us as well, right before halftime. That gave the girls a lift and I think it had an effect on them, especially on their second half performance, but I felt, over the course of the game, frustrated with the goal we conceded because it was our only one. Apart from that, the one or two opportunities they had I felt we were quite comfortable." And credit to them, their plan to contain the ever-dangerous Megan Rapinoe worked for most of the match as their defensive line stayed tight and made the proper switches. Even though the second half for both sides was lacking that final bit of quality to make a goal happen, they still got their chances, notably this one in the 88th minute by Katie Stengel. Kopmeyer came up big on corralling this one as it could have easily been the match-winner for Boston.
Another big save from Kopmeyer in the closing minutes of this one. pic.twitter.com/xmbfkpF7TN— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) July 16, 2017
Alas it was not meant to be this evening. Post-match, Harvey called the performance, "A bit flat." When you look back to last week's loss in North Carolina, is there cause for concern that the team could be regressing? Harvey didn't think so. “No, I’m not overly concerned. That three-game week was an emotional roller coaster, very taxing, emotionally and physically. I’m not sure we’ve quite recovered from that, but this league is unforgiving, you can’t just turn up and not provide a 7 to 8 out of 10 performance and expect to win games. We weren’t far off that, but we didn’t have enough quality. We were very reactive at times. We didn’t problem-solve enough to solve their pressure. When we did, we were a threat. We just didn’t do it well enough, often enough.”
It's that quality that they showed in the three-game week that they'll need to be sure is on display next week as they host Sky Blue FC led by the most in-form player in the league if not the world right now, Sam Kerr. The draw puts Reign FC in fifth place, just outside of the fourth and final playoff spot.
Reign FC's next match is hosting Sky Blue FC on Saturday, July 22 with a scheduled kickoff of 7 PM.