Wambach Nets Two But Flash Fall 3-2 to Reign
Tukwila, WA - Despite a tenacious second half effort, the Western New York Flash fell 3-2 to the Seattle Reign Thursday night on the road. Tied at 2-2, Christine Nairn scored the go-ahead goal in the 82nd minute to give the Flash their fourth loss of the season as the team now stands at 6-4-5 (23 points). Seattle improves its unbeaten streak to five games, now 3-9-3 (12 points) on the year.
The Flash opened the scoring in the 10th minute with an Abby Wambach goal that started with a solid defensive play from captain McCall Zerboni. Inside the Flash box, Zerboni made a sliding block to deny the Reign a scoring opportunity, leading to a strong clear effort from Brittany Taylor. That kick went the length of the field, sending Wambach one-on-one against goalkeeper Hope Solo. Though Wambach took a large first touch, she was able to beat Solo with a sliding shot.
Seattle evened things up just four minutes later with a left-footed shot from Jessica Fishlock that beat Adrianna Franch. Fishlock was assisted by Jessica McDonald who, after getting tied up with her back to the goal, touched the ball quick to the Welsh attacker for the shot.
Megan Rapinoe played a large part of the Reign offense on Thursday, and in the 44th minute she found the back of the net to put her team up 2-1. After a defensive miscue led to Franch having to quickly play the ball with her feet, the keeper's clear was cut-off by Rapinoe who struck fast for the goal.
Rapinoe, who made her NWSL debut against the Flash on June 23rd, ran the Reign offense from the left side and came close to a goal 26 minutes in. After the foot of Flash defender Estelle Johnson blocked a pass, Rapinoe collected the ball in the midfield and hit a quick one-touch chip toward the Flash goal. With Franch off her line, the goalkeeper was forced to make a diving save across the goalmouth to keep the ball out. The forward also had a dangerous cross in the 33rd minute but it went through the box untouched by two pressing Reign teammates.
The second half saw a different pace from the Western New York side as Wambach scored just two minutes into the half on a penalty kick. Like in their first meeting, Wambach faced Solo from the dot but this time struck the ball much cleaner to tie the game at 2-2.
A minute before, Solo was forced to make a save on a hard left-footed shot from Wambach, tipping the ball over the crossbar. Wambach also had another rocketed shot later in the 87th but Solo stopped the shot, taken nearly 35-yards out.
Solo finished the game with eight saves, while Franch compiled seven. In the first half, Franch knocked down a Fishlock cross toward Nairn and, though the ball went loose to the target, she was able to make a solid save on Nairn's rebound effort.
Nairn's game-winning goal came off a ball from Elli Reed, who found the forward making a far post run late in the game.
Wambach led the Flash with seven shots, with five on target. Carli Lloyd totaled three shots on target including one off a spin move in the 70th minute that was denied by Solo.
The Flash close their four-game road trip on Sunday when they travel to face second-seeded Portland Thorns FC at 5 p.m. ET. With a win, the Flash and Thorns would be tied with 26 points for second place in the NWSL.
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