The Seattle Reign is heading back to the National Women’s Soccer League championship game.
Seattle advanced to its second consecutive final with a 3-0 win over the Washington Spirit on Sunday before a crowd of 5,021 at Memorial Stadium.
The Reign lost to FC Kansas City in the championship match last season, and that’s who awaits them again Oct. 1 in Portland.
Seattle and Washington played scorelessly for 70 minutes. Then the Reign erupted for two goals in a four-minute span before adding the final exclamation point just before the final whistle.
The breakthrough goal came from forward Beverly Yanez, who had subbed onto the field just two minutes earlier.
“It was the first touch of the game,” she said. “I obviously wasn’t expecting that, but I knew that once on the field I was going to put everything I had into what the team needed.”
That goal was assisted by forward Megan Rapinoe, who then added the second goal on her own in the 75th minute, a wicked strike while streaking down the left side of the box.
Rapinoe played on the U.S. team, along with Reign goalkeeper and former UW standout Hope Solo, that won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Vancouver earlier this summer.
Midfielder Mariah Bullock scored the final goal in the 89th minute.
When the remaining seconds ticked away, the Reign saluted their fans, and turned their attention to finishing the business they could not a season ago against FC Kansas City.
Kansas City earned a chance to defend its title with a 3-0 win over Chicago in the other semifinal Sunday.
The Reign will take a nine-game unbeaten streak (8-0-1) into that match.
Seattle also concluded its season 9-0-2 at home — an advantage that will do no good in the championship game, which for the first time wifll be played at a predetermined site, in this case Providence Park, home of the NWSL attendance leading Portland Thorns.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808
OCT. 1: NWSL final, Seattle Reign vs. FC Kansas City, 6:30 p.m., at Providence Park, Portland.