BOYDS, Md. (September 5, 2015) – The Spirit lost for the first time at the Maryland SoccerPlex during the 2015 NWSL season against Seattle Reign FC in front of a sold out home crowd. Washington Spirit (8-6-6, 30 points) scored from a Matheson penalty kick while the Reign (13-3-4, 43 points) tallied two goals.
In the first five minutes captain Ali Krieger crossed the ball on the six yard line, but the Seattle defense cleared it out of danger. Seattle applied high pressure throughout the match, continually attacking the Spirit’s outside backs.
Both sides had equal opportunities in the first ten minutes of the match, but Seattle picked their heads up and converted the first goal in the 15th minute. Jessica Fishlock, outside the eighteen, volleyed a shot into the top right corner, giving Seattle a 1-0 advantage.
In the 23rd minute Megan Rapinoe duplicated Fishlock’s goal, taking a couple touches outside the eighteen, lifting her head and ripping a shot to the left top corner of the Spirit goal, giving the Reign a lead of 2-0.
The Spirit battled back as Diana Matheson drove into the top corner of the Reign box before being fouled by Kendall Fletcher in the 37th minute. Matheson stepped up to take the kick, sent Solo the wrong way and placed her shot in the upper right corner of the net to make the score 2-1.
League leading goal scorer Crystal Dunn connected with her counterpart Francisca Ordega numerous times in the first half with great build-up throughout the midfield. Before the first half concluded, Ordega, Krieger, Dunn and Christine Nairn built up possession in the midfield, with Nairn slotting a ball to Dunn but her shot was tipped over the bar by Solo. The Spirit went into the locker room trailing 2-1.
The second half started with no changes from both sides and play being very strong throughout the midfield. The first opportunity for the Spirit came in the 63rd minute when Ordega had a close shot on goal, but her effort went just wide.
In the last twenty minutes of the second half, the game resulted in many physical battles with the Spirit looking to equalize. With a Spirit free kick opportunity in the 77th minute, Nairn found Oyster’s head but it went over the net.
The Washington Spirit will have to play first place team, Seattle Reign FC again, in the semi-final match on Sunday September 13th at 6:30 PT.
Washington Spirit Lineup: Ashlyn Harris, Katherine Reynolds, Megan Oyster, Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church (84′ Ngozi Okobi), Ali Krieger, Christine Nairn, Francisca Ordega (66′ Hayley Raso), Crystal Dunn, Diana Matheson, Angela Salem(89′ Amanda Da Costa)
Subs not used: Kelsey Wys, Josephine Chukwunonye, Tori Huster, Joanna Lohman
Seattle Reign FC Lineup: Hope Solo, Lauren Barnes, Rachel Corsie, Elli Reed (84′ Mariah Bullock), Kim Little, Merritt Mathias (72′ Kiersten Dallstream), Jessica Fishlock, Kreelin Winters, Kendall Fletcher, Stephanie Cox, Megan Rapinoe (54′ Katrine Veje)
Subs not used: Danielle Foxhoven, Michelle Cruz, Amber Brooke, Haley Kopmeyer
2 23 Seattle Megan Rapinoe
3 37 Washington Diana MathesonCAUTIONS AND EJECTIONS
57 Seattle 24 Katrine Veje Yellow Delay of Game
77 Seattle 8 Kim Little Yellow Tactical Foul
80 Washington 24 Estelle Johnson Yellow Tactical Foul
88 Washington 20 Hayley Raso Yellow Tactical Foul