Seattle Reign FC (13-1-4, 43 pts) clinched its first-ever NWSL playoff berth with a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Red Stars (7-6-6, 27 pts) on Sunday, July 20 at the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium.
Despite conceding a late goal, the tie was enough for Seattle to become the first NWSL team to punch its ticket to the postseason.
After a scoreless first half, Seattle got on the board first in the 70th minute, with a line drive shot from close range by forward Beverley Goebel flying past diving goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc. The scoring opportunity was the product of a pair of passes in the box, with a feed from forward Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi finding forward Sydney Leroux on the far post. Leroux then fired a short pass to defender Kendall Fletcher, who found Goebel in front of the net to open the scoring. However, after a Seattle turnover, Chicago got the equalizer 11 minutes later, when forward Jen Hoy sent a pass across the box to forward Christen Press who was able to dribble past goalkeeper Hope Solo on the near post to knot the score at one.
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On the defensive side, it was the 11th time this season that Solo has allowed one goal or fewer. She now boasts a goals against average of 0.933.
With the draw, Reign FC remains atop the league standings with a league-record 43 points, nine points ahead of second-place FC Kansas City with 34 points, and 14 points clear of the third-place Portland Thorns FC.
Seattle is now five ahead of the previous NWSL record for points in a season of 38, with six regular-season matches left to play.
Reign FC finishes the season series against the Red Stars with a record of 1-1-1. Seattle defeated Chicago in the first matchup between the two teams on June 7 by a score of 3-2, with two penalty kick conversions by Scottish international Kim Little, and a goal from Leroux leading Seattle to the win.
Chicago won the team’s second meeting on July 12, with forward Melissa Tancredi’s first NWSL goal in the 8th minute capping the scoring in the Red Stars 1-0 win.
Seattle will finish its two game homestand next Sunday, July 27, against Portland at the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium. The match kicks off at 4 p.m. (PT) with a live, high-definition webstream available at YouTube.com/NWSL.
Visit ReignFC.com or call (855) REIGN-FC for details on single match tickets. Seats start at $19. Grandstand Premium seats are sold out for Saturday’s match