With Riley suspended, Flash earn draw in Seattle

Dan Lauletta July 17, 2016 35

In a rematch of the Flash’s win over the Reign on the narrowest of pitch’s at Frontier Field seven days earlier, the only two teams to have won the NWSL Shield battled to a 1-1 draw Memorial Stadium. The draw brought the Flash to within a point of first place while the Reign slipped four points adrift of a return to the playoffs for a third consecutive season.

Prior to kickoff Reign players Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe were honored for their inclusion in the United States Olympic team. The pair addressed the crowd but were not available to participate in the match. The Reign players who were came out buzzing and grabbed an early lead in the 3rd minute of the match.

Keelin Winters won a 50/50 ball from Lianne Sanderson and sent it ahead where it looked like Abby Erceg had an easy clearance for the Flash. But the ball eluded Erceg and Manon Melis pounced on it, leaving Erceg and Abby Dahlkemper behind and racing in on Flash goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland. Her right-footed shot was no match for Rowland and the Reign appeared to be off and running on Melis’s second of the season.

The Flash though, hung tight and after the early wave of pressure passed began to win turnovers in midfield and utilize their speed to catch Reign defenders off balance. In the 45th minute they found an equalizer. A McCall Zerboni cross intended for Jessica McDonald was redirected out of play by a Reign defender. Jaelene Hinkle sent the corner kick over everyone to the back post where Dahlkemper was there to send it back to the other post. That’s where McDonald met it with her head and knocked it in. McDonald’s sixth goal of the season leaves her one behind teammate Lynn Williams in the golden ball race.

The second half opened with the Flash in complete command. They dominated the midfield and often spent extended time in the Reign box, coming perilously close to scoring on numerous occasions. On one of them a ball slipped through Andi Tostanoski’s hands and in but there were so many touches before it got there that Erceg had slipped into an offside position.

The draw clinches the season series for the Flash against the Reign and left the Flash (8-4-1) on 25 points, one behind the Thorns and Spirit. They are a full seven points ahead of the Orlando Pride who are on 18 points and currently the first team outside the playoff bubble. A point further behind the Pride are the Reign (4-4-5) on 17 points. The Red Stars on 21 occupy the fourth and final playoff position.

The Flash are back home–at Rochester Rhinos Stadium–next Saturday to host FC Kansas City. Flash head coach Paul Riley will be back on the sidelines for that one. He did not coach against the Reign after being suspended a game for actions directed at match officials in the game a week ago. Assistant Scott Vallow ran the bench in Riley’s absence. The Reign are also home next Saturday against the Pride.

  • SEM

    Surprising score line, would’ve thought that the Flash score more. The Reigns playoff hopes may still be alive.

    • mockmook

      Only 4 pts out of a playoff spot — I’d call that more than “may”.

      • Steglitz49

        All things considered, 4 points is two wins or a win and a draw with favorable other critical stats. Granted between two teams a match is worth 6 points or none.

        • Guest

          Thanks captain obvious

          • Steglitz49

            It depends on how you interpret mockkook’s *more* in his comment that “I would call that more than ‘may'”.

            It is an easy catchup provided Seattle can beat one of those above them but if they lose it is an awfully big uphill struggle. To catch up by going parallel requires a win and a draw and favorable other stats.

  • Vintage Rider

    Well, we did every thing we could to lose.

    Being out played everywhere, passes to nobody, poor trapping, scary defensive give aways, . The defense seem determined to give NY every opportunity to get the go ahead goal.

    4500 plus in the stands. Nice turnout anyway

  • Vintage Rider

    Well, we did every thing we could to lose.

    Being out played everywhere, passes to nobody, poor trapping, scary defensive give aways. The defense seem determined to give NY every opportunity to get the go ahead goal.
    Seems to me that NY was just faster and sharper.

    4500 plus in the stands. Nice turnout anyway

    • Tom F

      plus the two scores taking away from the Flash & plus the rough fouls committed by Seattle of which another ref might of just given a red card

      • Vintage Rider

        Naa,

        Both non goals were offsides. The first pretty clearly, and the second obviously.

        The game wasn’t all that physical from my standpoint. The first card was on a well sold barely a foul. Probably a foul, but not much to it. The second on Winters was richly deserved. The third on Fishlock was a joke.

        I was mostly referencing ball skill and hustle of NY. Especially in the first 30 of the second half.

  • Rdalford

    Seattle attendance 4521 (from box score on NWSL site Stats page)

    Seattle YTD (3987+4083+4631+4056+4682+4356+4521) YTD total=30316
    YTD avg=4331 (mean) with median of 4356

    • Steglitz49

      Consistent.

      • guest49

        But could be better since Microsoft has made some investments?

        • Steglitz49

          With a seating capacity of ca 6,000, Seattle is at 70-75% based on tickets sold. Not bad all things considered but obviously not total sell-outs. This seems to put the kibosh on the claim that Seattle is as big a soccer hotbed as Portland, though Seattle can argue that Portland also only gets ca 75% of capacity at its matches — though the difference in absolute numbers is close to 10,000.

          • Vintage Rider

            The Reign also have the MLB Mariners and WNBA Seattle Storm to compete against for entertainment dollars.
            The Storm had a game in town last night and pulled 5300. We’re not that far behind.

            Having said that, I too wish for more fans at the game. And maybe a better stadium in the future. An almost 70 year old High School stadium has been through a lot, and understandably thrashed and and a bit gross.
            …and I want a pony too…

          • guest49

            One nation, One pony.

          • Steglitz49

            Some pony; some neck?

          • Steglitz49

            With 650,000 in Seattle city and 3.7m in the metro area, getting 15,000 to matches should be manageable with a 20,000 seater soccer stadium. Portland is 600,000 and 2.4m.

          • guest

            But they got new paper towel holders!

          • Vintage Rider

            Sweet! Maybe they have the capacity to make it through halftime now.

            I was hoping they’d start with the restooms. I swear those are the same tiles I was using when I was in high school 40+ years ago.

          • Lisa

            ick! You have greatly improved my opinion of the Women’s bathrooms

          • another guest

            FYI – Memorial stadium, home field for Seattle Reign, seats 12,000. Reign close off some sections (but have ability to open and use the full 12000 seats when tickets sales are up). The Reign ticket set up this year uses some sections on both sides of the field and accommodate approx 6K-7K.

          • Steglitz49

            Are you — unregistered good for nothing lay-about “another guest” — telling readers of the EQ that Seattle do not actually hit 70-75% but more like 30-35%?

            My question to you is: why are Seattle not pulling in 8,500-9,000 regularly seeing that they have among their crowd some amazing players to wit Naho. Kim and Jess? And, hopefully Hope.

    • Lisa

      huh, thought we might have hit the 5k mark this round. at least where I sit felt more crowded than usual.

      • Rdalford

        box score, match report (on both Seattle and NWSL sites) has attendance 4521.
        Seattle Reign twitter also has 4521 attendance
        “Tonight’s attendance is 4,521.”

      • Steglitz49

        None of the figures are 5,000 but the average of the 4 best is 4,500 while the worst 2 come in at 4,000 on av. Consistent and not too bad.

  • chive-on

    What’s up with Little and Fishlock? They can break out of their scoring funk any time now……

    • Lisa

      Little is definitely in a bit of a funk, just not looking happy out there, won’t take a shot for anything, and has been giving up under pressure looking for fouls that aren’t called or weren’t actually there in the first place. Fishlock has been busting her ass out there. It’d be great if she scored more, but I can’t really fault her play. As a team .. if only we were as willing to take a freaking shot on goal as we have been to make dangerous back passes in our defensive third.

      • Steglitz49

        In Kim’s defense, it can’t be much fun to be considered one of the world’s very best players and not be going to Rio. last OG, there was a Team Gbr because it would have been bizarre if there had not but this time round because her won federation would not allow it, she can’t go to Rio and get a medal in spite of a decent chance of reaching the final.

        it is enough to drive a lass to drink — or worse.

      • SlideTackle

        Have seen this for a couple of months but didn’t want to admit it: Kim’s game has lost its spark. She was phenomenal in the games Jess missed through injury, covering everything box-to-box with her trademark brilliant use of the ball. But since then, that sharpness has faded.

        Maybe the grind of NWSL – A Lg – NWSL is taking a toll? Don’t believe she’s played year-round before. Maintaining such superb form indefinitely isn’t realistic – but of course this Reign team needs that spark now more than ever.

        Reign still have time and potential to be scary-good in the play-offs…but could just as easily miss out completely.

  • anon

    totally rooting for the scrappy Flash. Despite the Frontier Field thing, which was not the players’ fault, and they made it work.

    • anon

      I wish MewTwo would stick her finger up at JE and play the rest of the season with the Flash.

      • guest

        That would be poetic lolz… while Allie Long’s Portland crashes and burns against the DASH of all teams. And Menges is one of my favorite NWSL players, so I want them to do ok…

  • Maybe if the pitch was 200 yards wide they would have won.

    • Maria Whitlock

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    • Guest

      Questionable to say when two of the flashes goals in that game came off of throw ins