You saw what they did on Saturday night against Sky Blue FC to win the match 4-1, now check out the stats and read about what Seattle Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski and players Megan Rapinoe, Lydia Williams, and Jess Fishlock had to say after the match.
Seattle Reign FC: 4 - Sky Blue FC: 1
Referee: Mark Allatin
Venue: UW Medicine Pitch at Memorial Stadium
Seattle Reign FC: 4 (5′ - Jodie Taylor (Assisted by Steph Catley), 38’ - Megan Rapinoe, 60’ - Rapinoe (Assisted by Naho Kawasumi), 84’ - Allie Long)
Sky Blue FC: 1 (62’ - Savannah McCaskill (Assisted by Carli Lloyd))
21’ - Erica Skroski
88’ - Jodie Taylor
Seattle Reign FC Stats
Total passes: 452
Total shots: 19 (Rapinoe, 7)
Shots on goal: 6 (Rapinoe, 3)
Fouls: 14 (Oyster, 4)
Saves: 4 (Williams)
Sky Blue FC Stats
Total passes: 416
Total shots: 14 (Lloyd/McCaskill, 4)
Shots on goal: 5 (McCaskill/Johnson, 2)
Fouls: 5 (Lloyd, 2)
Saves: 2 (Sheridan)
Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski
On having Megan Rapinoe back:
Having Megan back is different, as you can see, a two goal difference. She’s incredible. I would say one of the best players in the world, hands down. I always knew she was good but now I have a pretty good idea of how good she is and I’m glad she’s on my team.
Overall thoughts on the game:
It was a good game, good performance. I thought we played intense, quick, and we were able to expose some of the areas that we thought we could take advantage of. Obviously the creativity of the players that we have was tremendous and we scored good goals.
On team’s performance with schedule so far (4 of first 6 on the road):
When we were looking at the schedule before the season, it wasn’t something we were thrilled about but we didn’t moan about it, we didn’t cry about it. We just had to figure out a way to deal with it and I have to say the players have been true warriors. They’ve worked hard and traveled all over the country, we played three east coast teams in the four away games and I thought we’ve performed well. One thing that makes me happy is that we’ve gotten better every game and the mistakes that we made in the previous game, they didn’t show in the next game.
On the team’s goalkeeping situation and possibility of rotation:
I’m very fortunate to have two great goalkeepers on the team and we’re going to see both of them at different games. It will be purely a tactical decision because right now I cannot determine one or the other to be the starter or backup goalkeeper. They’re both starting goalkeeper quality and they’ve been great. You know Michelle with some of the games she’s had and we see Lydia coming and doing just as well. All I can say is it makes me happy that I have great goalkeepers with slightly different technical abilities that will give us different ways to expose teams.
On finally having a match at home with the backdrop of celebrating Jess Fishlock’s 100 appearances:
First off, Jess’ hundred games milestone is incredible. Just to have someone like Jess Fishlock in this league, I’m not talking about just on this team, just to have a player of her quality is tremendous. She brings a lot to this team, brings a lot to the league as well and I’m just happy that I have a chance to work with a player of her caliber and excited to be able work with her. In terms of playing a home game, we treated it like another home opener. The last time we played at home, it was so far away that it was another home opener for us and I’m very happy we could put on a good show for the fans. And I think our fans can start getting a little glimpse every game more and more what this team is all about and what they can do.
On the Kristen McNabb & Megan Oyster as the starting center backs for the third straight game:
I’m just happy that as a team we have an option. If we’re talking center backs, we have Lu Barnes and Maddie Bauer, two great center backs. They can come in, one or both at any point in time. Christen Westphal, who started the previous game and now we have Theresa Nielsen back, two great players. We have Alyssa Kleiner there, I think she’s someone that can bring different dynamics to our team. And then we’re talking the middle, Morgan Andrews is there. Bev Yanez who didn’t start this game, but she’ll be back there, and Jas Spencer, I mean we have options. And that’s what makes me happy. It’s tougher for me because I have to make some hard decisions, but ultimately that’s what it’s all about. Internal competition so we can bring the best out of every player.
On the freedom of fullbacks Stephanie Catley & Theresa Nielsen to get involved in the attack:
Both of our fullbacks are attacking-minded. That’s something we’ve talked a lot – we identify ourselves as a Triple A team: Attacking, Aggressive, and Attractive soccer. Part of attacking is that the fullbacks go forward. With Steph Catley, we’ll see a lot more of her doing stuff like that and just having someone like her - incredible left foot, great soccer mind, and incredible distribution, I think she’s going to be able to set up a lot more goals for us, I hope.
Forward Megan Rapinoe
Overall thoughts on the game:
Overall pretty good. We worked hard this week. They’re [Sky Blue] a little bit of an unorthodox team to play against, so obviously to get four goals as a team and have a bunch of chances, and I think we dominated the game a little bit better than we have in past games in different areas. The momentum got away from us a little bit at the end, but I felt like we did a pretty good job to close it out. Always good to get a win at home and it’s nice to be back home. It’s been a while!
On the dance celebration following her first goal:
It’s this thing I think Lydia or maybe Bev found, it’s called El Chombo. It’s like this alien dancing, but it’s this really tall, skinny human-like form, but it’s bendy in this way. So that’s the El Chombo dance. I did my best.
On her health and fitness coming back from injury:
I feel really good. I think kind of at the beginning of last week I was like “ugh!”, especially with playing Portland in Portland — you always want to play that one, but I think it was good to take that extra week and get a bigger chunk of minutes today. So I didn’t really feel it, but felt my lungs a little bit more than I probably wanted to. I was screaming on a few of them, but overall I feel good and had a great week of training leading up to it, so I should be able to go full in from here on out.
On the unusualness of scoring two goals with her right foot:
It’s actually probably been a while! I feel like I don’t actually score a lot of goals with my right foot, so I don’t know [when it last happened].
On having a defender behind her who likes to get forward and make overlapping runs, and if that’ll be a regular tactic going forward:
Yeah, definitely. I feel like the thing that is most advantageous for me and most dangerous on that side is when there are options. So Steph going forward, she’s great going forward and obviously great with her left foot... put in a brilliant ball for Jodie. To have that just opens everything up for me, and I think likewise for her, having me being able to pop into the middle can open it up. For other teams it’s difficult to defend against, you kind of have to take one or the other and then we have Rumi coming over there and making decisions as well. I absolutely love it when there are overlaps and other people going — it just opens up the game so much.
On Jess Fishlock reaching 100 games for Reign FC:
It’s just a fantastic achievement. She is one of the original founding members of what this whole club is built on. She’s given everything: limbs, ligaments, knees, heads, everything. She’s just always put it all out there and is just class on the field and off. To be able to do something like that at home is really a nice little touch from the club. And like I said, she’s one of the people and pillars that we’ve built this whole club on, so it’s quite special.
On helping to plan larger goal celebrations with teammates who might not have pre-planned ideas:
We’ll probably have to get some team ones going. It’s always a weird thing because you don’t want to jinx it and obviously plan too much ahead, but we do expect to score goals and to be dangerous, so we’ll have to have some things planned. Chombo was a good one for this week.
Goalkeeper Lydia Williams
On her first start of the season:
It was fun. Obviously the first couple of weeks, it was just getting settled into how the girls that have been here for two months and work through pre-season, how everyone plays and the style that Vlatko wants. It was really exciting to go out there and get a good win tonight and I think we played really well. Kept the ball a little bit scrappy in the second half but definitely first half was brilliant.
On Sky Blue FC’s increased urgency in the second half & Savannah McCaskill’s goal:
Obviously the first half, we really dominated, we had a lot of time on the ball. Second half they came out and pressured a little bit and we probably didn’t adapt quick enough to that pressure. If they’re pressing then the space is behind, so I think we needed to switch onto that a little bit quicker. And it was a great finish. I don’t think anyone can do that again, but I think we have a lot of work to do on the second half and making sure lapses in concentration rarely happen.
On adjustments and challenges with a new back line:
I would say it’s you get to see in training how everyone reacts and how they want to play. Vlatko’s a possession-based coach, which is what I’ve been taught, so I’ve enjoyed coming every day at training, just learning more about the girls – their touch, how we want to play. We do a lot of possession and playing out – I’ve played a lot of games for Australia, so I’ve had to practice over the years how to quickly adapt to a different lineup, if someone gets hurt or there’s a change-up. So it’s been a few weeks of me adapting to that, but obviously tonight it looked really good.
Midfielder Jess Fishlock
On celebrating 100 appearances for Reign FC, and getting the win on a special night:
I think that it was a great event for me tonight. The club were great with what they did with the scarves, and the fans were fantastic. I think it just shows what this club is about and the standards that they set for us. I have nothing but love for this club, and so to get here with one team in this league I think is a credit not only to the organization but for myself, I think we’ve shown loyalty [to] each other, which is just fantastic. And to win it the way that we did, I thought we were fantastic tonight from player 1 through player 11. So you know, I’m just really happy.
On whether she heard the FISH — LOCK call and repeat from fans in the 5th minute:
No, I did not. I heard the chant at the end when I came off, but when I’m playing I just tune it all out. But I appreciate everything that the fans do for us, and I definitely appreciate the love for me tonight, so thank you for that.
On the difficult early schedule (4 in a row on the road and several bye weeks) and the positive results to date:
I think that this stretch could have gone one or two ways for us, especially when we lost Pinoe at the beginning of the stretch. She’s probably the best player in the world right now, so any team would miss somebody like Megan Rapinoe. But we also lost a lot of our internationals, so I think what is fantastic for us is that during that stretch when we were away on the road, this squad as a group came together and pulled out points for us. Huge points. And that I think come the end of the season, it will prove to be the difference in where we finish. So that is how much I think that stretch meant to us. In those moments with the players that we missed, Naho, Rumi, Lydia, Steph, Pinoe… you list those players and any team would miss those players and you’d think they’re going to have a little bit of a rough time, but the depth that we have in this squad is nothing but phenomenal. It’s probably the best squad we’ve had overall since 2014, no question for me. So I think that we might overlook just how good that month was for us with regards to being away on the road for a month. We played Sunday—Wednesday in one of the games, and we’re sitting here, played [among] the least amount of games in the league right now, and we’re sitting in a really nice spot. So for me the run on that away trip could be the difference in finishing where we want to finish at the end of the season.
On the team spreading the goals around:
This team will score goals. There is no question to me about what we will do or what we won’t do. We will score goals. So our main focus is we have to stop them, and if we get better at that, at not conceding, then I am more than confident that we will score goals. We have too many fantastic players on this team from everywhere. Today was the first time Pinoe and Steph were together; they were great. Imagine what that’s going to look like in a month or six weeks. So I’m not concerned about [whether] we score goals. I think the biggest thing for us is defensively, can we be solid and can we not concede. And that’s something that will be at the forefront of our minds for the remainder of this season.