Naho Kawasumi sets record in Reign FC Victory
In front of 3,007 fans at Memorial Stadium, Seattle Reign FC defeated the Washington Spirit 6–2. This is Reign FC’s largest margin of victory against the Spirit, and the most goals they have scored against the Spirit in a single match.
The win moves Reign FC’s (2–1–2, 8 pts) all-time record against the Spirit to 7–4–1, going 5–1–1 at home. Seattle’s all-time goals scored against Washington improves to 24, have only been shutout in two meetings against the Spirit all-time.
“I thought that in the first half it was a very dominant performance from us,” said Seattle Reign FC general manager and head coach Laura Harvey. “The things we worked on in the week leading up to the game, we executed really well. In the second half we dropped our standard a little bit, which let them into the game. Once they scored, Washington changed shape a bit, and tried to do different things, and it took us a little bit of time to try and solve that. Once we did I thought we then dominated from the 60th minute on.”
Reign FC’s first goal on the day came in the 20th minute of the match. Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi won the ball from a defender on the wing. After a give-and-go with Beverly Yanez, Naho dropped the ball off to Christine Nairn on a trailing run in the box. Nairn buried the ball in the far corner of the net for her first goal with Reign FC since her 2013 rookie season.
“Naho did…all the hard work and laid me a perfect ball back right exactly where I could strike first time,” said Nairn. “All I wanted to do was put it low and hard across the face of goal and hope that someone got a deflection on it so it could go in the goal. I just hit it as hard as I could to be honest and fortunately it went my way.”
Yanez doubled the lead for Reign FC in the 35th minute, with Naho assisting once again on the goal. Naho sent a low driven cross into the box, and Yanez was able to get in front of her defender to finish the shot for her second goal of the season.
After going into halftime down 2–0, the Spirit cut the scoreline in half with a penalty kick in the 60th minute. While Haley Kopmeyer dove the correct way on Havana Solaun’s penalty, Solaun was still able to finish against her former club.
Less than ten minutes later, in the 68th minute, Naho would extend the lead back to two. Rumi Utsugi played Megan Rapinoe into space on the wing, who then sent a low cross into the box. Naho was waiting at the back post and made no mistake with the finish for her first goal of the season.
Naho and Rapinoe would combine again to make the scoreline 4–1 in the 71st minute. After a quick passing sequence with Naho, Rapinoe found herself in open space in the box and finished the chance.
Rapinoe scored again just five minutes later. Naho’s cross through the box was passed on by Katie Johnson to a waiting Rapinoe. The forward found the back of the net to complete the brace.
The sixth and final Reign FC goal came from Lindsay Elston, her first NWSL goal. Johnson crossed the ball to Naho in the box, who then passed to Elston who finished the point blank shot in the 79th minute.
Washington would grab one final goal before the end of the match, with Kristie Mewis finishing a free kick from Whitney Church at the back post in the 88th minute.
Naho was named Reign FC player of the match for her performance. The forward’s four assists in the match sets an NWSL record for most assists in a single match. Naho also scored her first goal on the 2017 season.
“[Naho’s] one of the best passers of the ball, in my opinion, in the world really,” said Rapinoe. “We always know to make good runs and the service will be there. We got her in really great spaces today, and we were lucky to get on the end of the ball.”
Today’s result sees Reign FC points total for the season improve to eight, moving into second place on the NWSL table. Other results today saw Sky Blue FC defeat the Houston Dash and FC Kansas City tie Portland Thorns FC.
Up next, Reign FC host College Night when they face the Orlando Pride on Sunday, May 21st. This is the first meeting between the two teams this season, with kickoff set for 6:30pm PT. The last meeting between these two teams was July 23, 2016 with Seattle earning a 5–2 victory in their highest scoring match of last season.
Content provided by Seattle Reign.