Seattle Reign FC Defeat Sky Blue FC 1-0 in First Road Match of the Season
SEATTLE - On a wet and windy afternoon in Piscataway, New Jersey, Seattle Reign FC emerged with a 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC. Despite playing its first match since March 24, Seattle outshot Sky Blue 8-3 and played organized, stingy defense for 90 minutes.
Seattle took a quick 1-0 lead when Megan Rapinoe blasted a penalty kick into the back of the net just over five minutes into the match. The penalty came as a result of a handball by Sky Blue FC's Erica Skroski, who misplayed a cross from Seattle's Theresa Nielsen in the box.
Seattle dominated the opening minutes of play, holding Sky Blue without a shot on goal or corner kick for the first 26 minutes. Looking to add to its lead, Seattle generated a chance off a cross from Beverly Yanez to Rapinoe. Sky Blue keeper Kailen Sheridan appeared to trip Rapinoe, but rather than awarding the second penalty kick of the early stages, the referee allowed play to continue.
The Reign stayed on the attack for nearly the entire first half. A one-touch through ball from Jess Fishlock sprung Rapinoe for a scoring chance in the 25th minute, but after creating space with some nifty footwork, Rapinoe's shot soared over the top of the goal.
As the clock approached 30 minutes, Sky Blue FC built its best possession of the match. A series of dizzying passes set up Shea Groom, who pushed a ball into the goal only to be whistled offside. A brilliant rain-aided tackle by Fishlock thwarted another opportunity for Sky Blue minutes later.
Seattle took its advantage into halftime, narrowly avoiding danger during stoppage time when the ball slipped out of Michelle Betos' grasp and presented the home team with a wide-open goal. Luckily for Seattle, its opponent failed to get the ball on frame.
Possession was virtually even through the first 45 minutes. Each side completed over 65 percent of its passes, with the Reign firing off five shots to New Jersey's one.
The first substitution of the afternoon occurred in the 57th minute. After appearing to tweak her left hamstring minutes earlier, Megan Rapinoe left the pitch to give way to Kiersten Dallstream.
Playing with the wind at her back in the 61st minute, Fishlock launched a long-distance shot, forcing Kailen Sheridan to execute her first save of the match. Betos notched her first save in the 73rd minute, stonewalling a short-angle try by Groom.
As the match neared its conclusion, Morgan Andrews came on for the Reign and Dallstream was issued a yellow card. Dallstream's fresh legs scooted into the penalty area in the 85th minute, laying the ball off for Jodie Taylor, who was brought down for a penalty kick. Stepping up to the penalty spot looking to put the final nail in the coffin, Taylor's penalty shot was kept out by Sheridan.
Seattle's midfield and defense held strong over the final minutes, keeping a compact shape to preserve the shutout, despite some pressure-filled attacks from Sky Blue in the final moments.
The win moved Reign FC to second in the NWSL table on six points, tied with Portland, but behind the first place North Carolina Courage who are on nine points.
Reign FC will head south for its next match on Wednesday, April 18 against North Carolina Courage. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 pm PDT. Seattle's next home match will be Saturday, May 12 at 7 p.m. PT, also against Sky Blue FC. Tickets for the May 12 match are available at www.reignfc.com/tickets.
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Seattle Reign FC
Date: April 15, 2018
Venue: Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ
Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. PT
Weather: 41 degrees, windy and rainy
SEA - Rapinoe (PK), 6'
Yellow - McCaskill, 50'
Yellow - Dallstream, 82'
Seattle Reign FC
Total shots: 8
Shots on goal: 4
Total Passes: 408
Passing Accuracy: 63.7%
Yellow cards: 1
Corner kicks: 5
Sky Blue FC
Total shots: 3
Shots on goal: 1
Total Passes: 532
Passing Accuracy: 71.4%
Yellow cards: 1
Corner kicks: 6
Seattle Reign FC
Michelle Betos, Christen Westphal, Lauren Barnes, Megan Oyster, Theresa Nielsen, Beverly Yanez (Kristen McNabb, 90'), Allie Long, Jessica Fishlock, Jodie Taylor, Jasmyne Spencer (Morgan Andrews, 79'), Megan Rapinoe (Kiersten Dallstream, 56') (C)
Substitutes Not Used: Elizabeth Addo, Yael Averbuch, Maddie Bauer, Adelaide Gay
Sky Blue FC
Kailen Sheridan, Mandy Freeman, Rebekah Stott, Erica Skroski, Christina Gibbons (Madison Tiernan, 82'), Carli Lloyd, Sarah Killion, Raquel Rodriguez (Katlyn Johnson, 64'), Janine Beckie, Savannah McCaskill, Shea Groom (Adriana Leon, 89')
Substitutes Not Used: Michaela Abam, Caroline Casey, Jennifer Hoy, Mckenzie Meehan
Referee: Marco Vega
Assistant Referees: Ian McKay, Maggie Short
4th Official: Thomas Snyder
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National Women's Soccer League Stories from April 15, 2018
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