Washington Spirit gave them a run for their money, but Megan Rapinoe’s late goal secured Seattle Reign FC’s ticket to the 2014 NWSL Championship, winning 2-1 tonight in Seattle, WA.
The pace of the first half was quite fast as both sides got down to business creating chances. Hope Solo was tested within the first five minutes of play, pulling a nice double save to keep Spirit scoreless.
As the half wore on, Seattle controlled possession, with Megan Rapinoe, Nahomi Kawasumi and Sydney Leroux raining shots on goal from all angles. But, Spirit’s back line was on point, crumbling Seattle’s never-ending attacks, and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made some stunning saves herself. Spirit managed fewer shots on goal, but they made them count, and Solo was pushed to the brink, making point blank saves to keep the ball out.
The first half was physical, but the second half was another story. Seattle stormed the goal, with Rapinoe blasting shot after shot, but with defender Crystal Dunn hot on her heels, finishing was a difficult feat. Although Seattle dominated once more, Washington would get on the board first.
In the 65th minute Veronica Perez won the ball in the box and found a gap in Seattle’s back line. She used that opportunity to shoot the ball high, just out of Solo’s reach.
Seattle would get the equalizer soon after though. A handball was called on Spirit in the 71st minute and Kim Little stepped forward for the penalty kick. She drilled the ball low to the left and Harris just couldn’t catch it in time, setting the score at 1-1.
Six minutes later, the tables were turned and Spirit was awarded a pk- but Solo saved the day again, blocking the high-flying shot and sending the crowd into an ecstatic uproar.
But, the winning ball belonged to Rapinoe, who had worked relentlessly to find the net all night. In the 81st minute she battled with the opposition midfield and won the ball. She didn’t waste any time, streaking down the right side and volleying her shot high. Harris jumped but it was too late, ending the game at 2-1.
Seattle Reign FC and FC Kansas City will face off at Moda Pitch Field Memorial Stadium next Sunday in the 2014 NWSL Championship.