Just 72 hours after a mid-week match in which they finally lost to the Houston Dash, Seattle Reign FC returned to the win column by defeating Sky Blue FC 1-0 and sweeping the season series with the New Jersey club.
Six changes to the starting eleven from Wednesday night were made, with the most notable ones being Jess Fishlock, Megan Rapinoe, Lydia Williams, Theresa Nielsen, and Lydia Williams starting. Christen Westphal was a last minute addition to the lineup, replacing Stephanie Catley, who was ruled out with a left ankle contusion. Elizabeth Addo got another start tonight after getting her first in the mid-week match, moving up to the right wing spot usually occupied by Nahomi Kawasumi.
The goal came from forward Megan Rapinoe in the 64th minute after she converted on a pass from defender Christen Westphal. Rapinoe’s fifth goal on the 2018 campaign was her 32nd for the club and put her in a tie with Kim Little for the club’s all-time lead.
The first half of the match saw both sides with chances to put a ball in the back of the net. For Seattle, their chances came from through balls intended for either Jodie Taylor, Jess Fishlock, or Rapinoe. However, those runs were stuffed by Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. Sky Blue FC saw their chances in the first half come through corner kicks and second chance crosses into the box, with a notable spell after the 30 minute mark, but Seattle’s defense stood tall.
After Rapinoe’s goal, the rest of the match was all Seattle’s. While they weren’t able to convert on chances that should have extended their lead by two or three goals, they looked far more comfortable and displayed the urgency to increase their lead more than Sky Blue looked urgent to get an equalizer. Reign FC fans should take comfort that the nightmare second half this past Wednesday in Houston looks to have been an aberration. Of course more goals would have been nice to make it an emphatic win, but seeing them return to a more composed and organized unit is just as important as tonight’s result.
This ball from Rapinoe was just a bit too fast for Jasmyne Spencer to get a touch on, otherwise that’s Seattle’s second goal.
The victory puts Seattle back in second place on the league table with 17 points through 9 games, above Orlando Pride, who happen to be their next opponent. Seattle Reign FC host Orlando Pride on Sunday, June 3rd at Memorial Stadium with a scheduled kickoff of 6 PM.