Rapinoe gets hat trick in 5-4 Reign victory
SEATTLE -- In front of 4,464 fans at Memorial Stadium, Seattle Reign FC won 5–4 against Sky Blue FC on Saturday. The match ties an NWSL record for most combined goals in a match, with nine. Reign FC’s home scoring streak is now at 26 consecutive matches.
The draw keeps Reign FC’s (6–3–6, 24 pts) home record an unbeaten 5–0–4 this season. Megan Rapinoe’s hat trick makes her goal total for the season 12, with 11 of those goals coming in home matches.
“The first half was pretty crazy in itself, but we controlled it a little bit better,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach and general manager. “We scored three goals in the beginning of the second half, which the starts of second halves have been a problem for us, so that was a huge positive. On the bench, you get to 4–0, and you have to figure out what changes you need to make to see the game out, but I knew they weren’t done yet. Sky Blue are a very good side and really dangerous. I felt that if they got one, they could really get themselves back in it, and that’s what happened. Credit to the players, they didn’t give up. They kept driving, they kept pushing, and working really hard.”
The opening minutes of the match saw the teams create several chances to score, but the opening goal didn’t come until the 27th minute. Reign FC forward Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi was fouled outside of the box to earn a free kick near the top of the box. Forward Megan Rapinoe stepped up and curled the ball just inside the post past a diving goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.
The teams then broke out for a combined eight goals in the second half. Reign FC doubled their lead two minutes in through a Rapinoe penalty kick. Forward Beverly Yanez was fouled in the box to earn the kick.
Just two minutes later, Yanez found the back of the net herself. Naho got the ball on the right side and chipped it in behind the defensive line, and Yanez headed it to the left of Sheridan. It was Naho’s league-leading seventh assist on the season.
Reign FC’s fourth goal came from an own goal from Sky Blue FC defender Erica Skroski. Rapinoe burst into space on the left wing, and her cross into the box was deflected into the back of the net.
Sky Blue FC began their comeback in the 60th minute through a penalty kick from forward Kelley O’Hara. Forward Leah Galton drew a foul in the box to earn the penalty.
In the 64th minute, Sky Blue FC cut the deficit in half. After Reign FC goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer saved an initial shot from O’Hara, Galton found the rebound and finished with a left-footed shot before Kopmeyer could get back to block the shot.
The visitor’s third goal came in the 72nd minute. A missed clearance left the ball at the feet of midfielder Daphne Corboz who took a sliding shot that got past the outstretched leg of Kopmeyer.Forward Sam Kerr scored the equalizing goal for Sky Blue in the 76th minute. Corboz found space to send a ball into the box, and Kerr was able to head it toward the left side of goal where it went off Kopmeyer’s hand and into the side netting of the goal.
Reign FC’s game-winning goal came from Rapinoe in the 86th minute. Forward Katie Johnson collected the ball at the top of the box and was able to create enough space to drop the ball off to Rapinoe. Rapinoe’s shot sailed past a diving Sheridan and into the upper right corner of goal.
Rapinoe was named Reign FC player of the match for her performance. The forward’s three goals gives her 12 goals on the season, the most in the NWSL. Rapinoe played the full 90, and she will now join the U.S. women’s national team for the upcoming Tournament of Nations starting July 27th in Seattle.
The result sees Reign FC points total for the season improve to 24, and moves them into fourth place on the NWSL table. Other results today saw the Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, and Portland Thorns FC earn wins. The match between FC Kansas City and the North Carolina Courage was postponed to a later date due to weather.
Reign FC resume play on August 5th after the FIFA break in NWSL play. Seattle will travel to face the North Carolina Courage for the second time this season, with kickoff set for 4:30pm PT. The previous meeting between the two teams was July 8th, with Reign FC falling 2–0 on the road.
This content was provided by Seattle Reign FC.