After a three week break, Seattle Reign FC resumed league play with a 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC in Piscataway, New Jersey. The lone goal came from Megan Rapinoe, who converted a penalty in the sixth minute.
The match won’t likely be included in any season highlight reel as the weather was the absolute pits. Heavy rain and a fierce wind chill once reported at around 31 degrees made for an adventure for everyone on the field and those watching as often the broadcast cameras looked to have gone for a swim.
The first half saw the Reign playing into the wind which on crosses and long balls caused the ball to hang up in the air for a second or two longer and it proved to be influential right away when Sky Blue defender Erica Skroski was called for a handball in the box in the fifth minute.
Forward Megan Rapinoe would step up and convert the penalty a minute later and the rest of the first half saw Seattle controlling the ball and space better than their Jersey counterparts despite the weather affecting conditions on the field.
Sky Blue FC would have a dangerous moment to equalize at the very end of the half when Reign goalkeeper Michelle Betos came out to play a ball and the ensuing chaos saw a second chance cross for forward Savannah McCaskill to possibly get a head on into a Seattle open net but it was too high for her.
The second half will be remembered for the weather more than the quality of the play. Increasing rain & wind saw the ball move a lot more sluggish and rhythm for both sides to dip. As fatigue wore on, Sky Blue FC made offensive-minded changes, of note bringing on former Reign FC forward Katie Johnson, who started a spark in Sky Blue FC creating more pressure to get that equalizing goal. Credit to Reign FC’s defense though as they were able to hold the line at times when Sky Blue FC looked their most dangerous.
Reign FC were awarded a penalty in the 85th minute when forward Jodie Taylor was taken down in the box by Skroski and when Taylor took the penalty, Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan guessed correctly on Taylor going right for a highlight reel double-save for the Canadian international.
Some last minute surges by Sky Blue FC though were kept in check by Reign FC’s defense and Seattle was able to hold on for the 1-0 victory. Reign FC can’t rest on the laurels of this victory however as they head straight to Cary, North Carolina for a Wednesday evening match against North Carolina Courage.
It’s expected considerable squad rotation will be in play for that match especially with forward Megan Rapinoe leaving the match in the 56th minute with according to the broadcast, an apparent hamstring injury. The substitution could have been precautionary as Rapinoe looked to leave the field on her own just fine, so fans will have to wait for an update.
At the end of the day, the job was done. Reign FC got three points in a game to forget because the weather hindered the quality of play, we hope it’s nothing serious with Megan Rapinoe, and onward to North Carolina. Kickoff is scheduled for Wednesday, 4 PM PST and can be streamed on go90.