For the third time this season the Seattle Reign overcame a deficit against the Western New York Flash to remain undefeated as they earned a 2-1 victory on the road.
The game-winning goal was set up by Megan Rapinoe, who returned from a foot injury that had kept her out since the Reign’s season opener. Rapinoe subbed into the game in the 68th minute and picked up where she left off. With the game tied, the midfielder dribbled through two Flash defenders and connected with Jessica Fishlock for the goal in the 85th minute.
Today’s game was much like the previous two contests between the teams as the Flash jumped out to an early lead on a goal by Vicky Losado. Off a free kick by Brittany Taylor from midfield, a poor clearance off the head of Keelin Winters gave the ball to Losado inside the penalty box. Losada fired the ball post Reign keeper Hope Solo and it knocked off the crossbar, and the Reign thought they had avoided the early deficit, but assistant referee Christopher Trotter said the ball hit inside the crossbar in the 33rd minute.
With the lead on their side, the Flash called on goalkeeper Lydia Williams to preserve the lead. After a giveaway by McCall Zerboni, Fishlock found Nahomi Kawasumi wide open inside the penalty box. Kawasumi’s shot was saved by Williams at close range with the rebound coming out to NWSL-leading scorer Kim Little but Williams hopped back up and made another diving save on the far post.
Despite the deficit, the Reign found an equalizer off a perfectly placed cross from Little to Beverly Goebel in the 62nd minute. The Reign’s equalizer began off a throw in, Little served the ball from the far side of the field and found Goebel in the middle of the box. The 25-year-old forward beat Katherine Reynolds and headed the ball past a diving Williams for her third goal of the season.
Taylor once again created a scoring chance for the Flash and found a streaking Jasmyne Spencer wide open in the the 74th minute behind the Reign backline. Spencer was challenged by a rushing Solo and tried to chip the keeper but the ball hit off the left post and was cleared.
The miss seemed to end the momentum for the home side as the Reign dominated possession after the missed opportunity which set up the winning goal.
With three close victories, the Reign improve to 12-0-3 and a 20-goal differential, while the Flash remain in a battle for the final two playoff spots at 20 points in 15 matches.
Both teams return to action this weekend, as the Flash travel to Houston Saturday while the Reign return home to face the Boston Breakers on Sunday.
WNY- Vicky Losada (3), 33′
SEA- Beverly Goebel (3), 62′
SEA- Jessica Fishlock (4), 85′
SEA– Hope Solo, Stephanie Cox, Kate Deines, Elli Reed, Kendall Fletcher, Keelin Winters, Jessica Fishlock, Kim Little, Nahomi Kawasumi (Megan Rapinoe, 68), Sydney Leroux (Lauren Barnes, 90), Beverly Goebel (Mariah Nogueira,82)
WNY- Lydia Williams, Katherine Reynolds, Brittany Taylor, Kat Williamson, Kristen Edmonds, Vicky Losada, Angela Salem (Sonia Bermudez, 71), McCall Zerboni, Carli Lloyd, Samantha Kerr, Adrianna Martin (Jasmyne Spencer 59 (Amy Barczuk, 88).
WNY- Angela Salem (4)- Caution 66′
SEA- Jessica Fishlock (3)- Cauttion 90′ +5