The Seattle Reign and Sky Blue FC opened up their 2016 NWSL season at Memorial Stadium in Seattle on Sunday, April 17th. Under a sun drenched field, Seattle was hoping to start their 2016 season off with a bang and extended their unbeaten streak at Memorial Stadium. Sadly, Sky Blue would end that streak and hand Seattle their first ever loss at Memorial Stadium with a 2-1 victory.
Tasha Kai gets visitors on board first
The Reign were the dominant team throughout the first 15 minutes of the game. Consistently keeping pressure on Sky Blue and not allowing to control any portion of the match early on. Finally, Sky Blue was able to break the pressure and find Tasha Kai alone near midfield. Kai was able to penetrate the Reign defense and find Kelley O’Hara on the far left side of the pitch.
After getting by Elli Reed on the left side, O’Hara was able to send a cross into the box. The ball flew across the mouth of the goal and Kai was able to get her head on it and past Hope Solo to give Sky Blue an early 1-0 lead.
Solo Steps up and keeps Seattle in the game
In the 35th minute, Merritt Mathias was whistled for a foul inside the penalty area. The referee pointed to the spot and it looked as if Sky Blue would have a 2-0 lead halfway through the first half. After Solo was issued a yellow for dissent, Sarah Killion stepped up to take the penalty.
With the sun in her eyes, Solo was able to read where Killion was going to take her shot and make the save to keep the Reign in the game down only one.
Reign come out strong in second half
Seattle didn’t waste any time getting on the board in the second half. Just eight minutes in, Mathias atoned for her earlier mistake and tied the game at 1-1. Kim Little played a lovely through ball to Jess Fishlock. She was able to chest it down, but did not have a great angle on goal to take a shot.
Not knowing if a player was making a run toward the back post, she lofted the ball into the air. Indeed, she did have a teammate making that back post run and it was Mathias who was able to beat her defender and get her head on the ball to tie it up at 1-1 with plenty of time to go.
Sky Blue takes lead back, for good
After a few chances for both teams, Sky Blue retook the lead for good in the 67th minute. Taylor Lytle raced to the end line and sent the ball across the mouth of the goal where Kelly Conhenny was waiting for it at the back post, completely unmarked.
The finally twenty minutes saw the Reign trying to get that goal back, but Sky Blue was able to stiffen up their defense and not allow a game tying goal like they did last season.
With the loss, Seattle will now try to figure out what went wrong and fix it as they have to travel cross country and take on the Boston Breakers (0-1) Sky Blue will travel back to New Jersey and play host to the Washington Spirit (1-0).