Seattle Reign FC (17-2-6) punched their ticket to the NWSL Championship match with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Spirit (12-8-5) in an NWSL semifinal on Sunday, August 24 at the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium.
Seattle will now host FC Kansas City next Sunday at 12 p.m. (PT) at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash. for the league title. Tickets for the match will go on sale to the general public at noon on Tuesday, August 26.After a scoreless first half that saw both Seattle and Washington just miss the goal several times, Washington got on the board first in the 65th minute. Midfielder Diana Matheson cut back a pass from the end line to midfielder Veronica Perez, who took one touch before burying a shot past goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Six minutes later, it would be 2014 NWSL Golden Boot winner Kim Little coming through with the equalizer on a penalty kick (her second attempt after the first was called back for encroachment), after a shot on the near post by U.S. Women’s National Team forward Sydney Leroux was knocked away by defender Toni Pressley, with the latter being called for a handball.
The Spirit nearly retook the lead on a penalty shot of their own in the 78th minute, after another handball was called in the box. This time, Solo was able to knock away the shot into the top left corner by Matheson to keep the score knotted at one.
In the 82nd minute, forward Megan Rapinoe gave Reign FC the game-winner, taking the ball away from Pressley on the backline, and shooting a rocket to the top right corner over the outstretched arms of Harris in a one-on-one opportunity for the game’s final goal.
Seattle finishes the season series with the Spirit with a record of 3-0-1. Reign FC defeated the Spirit 3-1 on April 23 at Memorial Stadium, with goals from forward Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi, midfielder Jessica Fishlock, and defender Kendall Fletcher leading Seattle in the win.
On May 3, Seattle knocked off Washington 2-1 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland, with Fishlock and Leroux notching goals.
Reign FC clinched an undefeated home regular season record on August 9 with a 1-1 draw with the Spirit in Seattle, with Little breaking past a line of four Washington defenders for Seattle’s lone goal.
With the victory on Sunday — Seattle’s first-ever playoff win — Reign FC advances to the 2014 NWSL Championship next Sunday to face FC Kansas City, who beat Portland 2-0 on Saturday to clinch their spot. That match will be played at Tukwila’s Starfire Stadium due to a scheduling conflict at Memorial Stadium.
To purchase tickets to the NWSL Championship match, visit ReignFC.com or call (855) REIGN-FC beginning Tuesday, August 26 at noon (PT).