Tonight, in Orlando, the Reign FC took on the Orlando Pride and while they didn’t get the win, the 1-1 result still keeps their season alive, but barely. And so once again, the Seattle Reign FC are in a position of needing to win to keep their hope of returning to the NWSL Playoffs alive.
The match was originally scheduled for Saturday evening, but with Hurricane Irma well on the way to hit land this weekend, the leauge moved up the match to tonight. With both teams on short rest, it wasn’t a pretty game and definitely no one on the field could be blamed if they had other things on their mind.
The majority of the match can be summed as follows: The Reign were apparently offside all the time they made a run in Orlando’s third. Some of those calls were clear as day. Others — well perhaps some replays would have been nice. For the Pride, they are going to rue all the chances they had on Seattle’s goal and not being able to put any of them in, especially a point-blank header by Rachel Hill in the 47th minute.
47' THE CROSSBAR SAVES! pic.twitter.com/IL3Dqr8NbL— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) September 8, 2017
Goalkeeper Lydia Williams came up huge when she needed to (especially a Save of the Week nominee in the 49th minute), but Orlando could have and probably should have been able to put one into the back of the net.
49' Lydia Williams, everyone. pic.twitter.com/WeG3rkKyL0— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) September 8, 2017
So Seattle was offside all the time, Orlando squandered chances.
Then came stoppage time.
Just as the announcers were mentioning that the Orlando Pride in their short history have not had a scoreless draw, Pride forward Alex Morgan sent ball wide to Williams’ left and into the side net for the goal in the 93rd minute. Right then and there, Reign FC fans probably thought the season was over. It should have been.
93' Goal, Orlando Pride. pic.twitter.com/7XtN6rVrtj— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) September 8, 2017
However there were four minutes of stoppage time.
And in the final minute of stoppage time, right at the restart, the Seattle Reign FC did this…
94' FISHLOCK! LOUD NOISES! pic.twitter.com/T6bHsBUWyZ— Ride of theValkyries (@rovalks) September 8, 2017
What better way to celebrate your 100th all-time appearance in the NWSL than a season-saving header goal, because that is what co-captain Jess Fishlock did. The assist was Nahomi Kawasumi’s ninth of the season and she is now one shy of tying the NWSL single-season record.
Whatever celebration was in the air in Orlando because they thought Alex Morgan had punched their ticket into the playoffs, Jess Fishlock came and canceled that party.
So what does it mean for the Reign and their chance at the playoffs?
It’s simple: Win out the final two games (vs. FCKC on 9/24 and @ Washington Spirit on 9/30) and hope either the Chicago Red Stars or Orlando Pride lose out the rest of the season. If Reign fans weren’t doing some scoreboard watching already, they sure will be this weekend, especially that Lifetime Game of the Week between FC Kansas City and the Chicago Red Stars.
Buckle up folks, the final weeks of the season are going to be… interesting.