Reign Report: Seattle Reign FC Versus Washington Spirit
It only took six minutes for Reign FC forward Lindsay Taylor to reward the supporting passion of the midweek home crowd at Starfire Stadium with a 1-nil lead against the Washington Spirit. It was the second home match for the Reign FC in what could be sub-titled as The Battle of Washingtons. What started as joyful news for Seattle’s winless National Women’s Soccer League club turned to darkening skies and a cooler temperature by the time referee, Katja Koroleva’s final whistle came. It was more than that which had Seattle Reign’s coach Laura Harvey shaking her head afterwards at a bitter 4-2 loss. The Reign have lost five straight and are (0-W, 5-L, 1-D) overall, while Washington tallied its first win of the season, improving their record to (1-W, 2-L, 3-D).
Taylor opened her account with the Reign’s inaugural campaign on a well deserved goal, assisted by a quality cross from Kristina Larsen. Seattle opened the match with an aggressive pace, which had Washington chasing the action. Momentum took an abrupt change in the fifteenth minute as the injury stricken Reign FC suffered yet another blow to quality midfielder Kate Deines, who was replaced by Emily Zurrer.
After the injury substitution, Washington became more organized in midfield with better linked passing and sustained periods of possession. Whereas the Reign appeared to sit on their early lead, dropping into a defensive formation. Even with momentum balancing out, the Reign nearly doubled their lead in the 30th minute as Taylor was fouled a yard outside the penalty box. Christine Nairn took the free kick and although the Spirit cleared Seattle’s chance harmlessly away, Washington were fortunate not to fall further behind. The Spirit took advantage of their fortune six minutes later and equalized on Diana Matheson’s unassisted goal.
Washington wasted little time in taking advantage of their momentum with Ali Krieger giving the Spirit a 2-1 halftime lead on a rebounded goal that initially saved twice by Reign’s Keeper, Michelle Betos.
After the break, Seattle countered with quality pressure against the Spirit, and as with the edge in their opening first half attack, they rewarded 1,011 in attendance with their first multi-goal game of 2013. Christine Nairn and Lindsay Taylor skillfully worked the ball along the right flank, deep into the Spirit’s attacking third. Nairn found space to loft a perfectly placed cross to Teresa Noyola who headed back across the face of goal into the far corner.
Seattle Reign continued to create opportunities going forward but were unable to find the final pass to grab a key match winner. Instead it was Washington taking advantage of Reign defensive mistakes to steal all three points on a pair of second half goals. Tiffany McCarty made it 3-2 in the 56th minute, fortunate to have the ball stay at her feet as three Reign defenders were unable to poke the barely controlled ball away from danger. The final goal came from a free kick, set piece that Tori Huster was able to redirect into goal. Reign Keeper, Michelle Betos was unable to come off her line far enough to beat the headed shot, and was left exposed as Reign defenders allowed too much room at the far post.
Here’s what Reign’s Lindsay Taylor had to say after the match.
After the match coach Laura Harvey was quick to address her squads result, and continued frustration with not finding their form in earning a first win.
We conceded stupid goals. You can’t keep conceding the goals that we did. You look at their goals tonight, they are in my opinion, errors by us. I can’t think of a goal that they scored where I’ve gone yep that’s a great goal by you. Errors by us.
When the Reign’s offense is in full stride, possessing, and pressing the attack they look the better squad. Their weakness is in sustaining those quality periods of possession for a longer duration. Like the changing weather of Spring the Reign need to confidently breakthrough and show their bright quality for a full 90. There is no doubt fans are warmed to the belief the Reign are near their clubs first win.
Also in attendance at the match was Tom Sermanni, head coach of the United States Women’s National Team. Here’s what he had to say about the evolution of the women’s game and expectations with the national team under his helm.
This is Reign Report, Cheeky Backheel’s coverage of the Seattle Reign FC.