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Rapinoe dominates to level Pacific Northwest Derby; Fishlock leaves with knee injury

For the first time since the Pacific Northwest Derby kicked off four years ago, the Reign and Thorns are on even terms against each other. After spotting the Thorns a four-game lead during their forgettable debut season in 2013, the Reign made it 6-6-3 with a 2-0 victory in front of 4,270 Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. Megan Rapinoe, in an overall spectacular performance, scored both goals and now leads NWSL with 9. The result also vaulted the Reign into 3rd place on the table and left the Thorns in 5th, one spot below Sky Blue FC and the precious final playoff position.

The only hiccup on the evening was an apparent knee injury suffered in the first half suffered by Jessica Fishlock when Amandine Henry came down on her left leg as they vied for a 50/50 ball. The three-time Best XI midfielder did not put any weight on her left leg as she was carried off the field, and again when she was assisted to the locker room during halftime.

Per Richard Farley of FourFourTwo, Rapinoe said that Fishlock did not tear her ACL.

Through 80 minutes, the match was a tale of two defensive miscues. An early giveaway by Lauren Barnes went directly to Christine Sinclair and rookie center back Kristen McNabb scrambled back, kept her composure, and knocked the ball from Sinclair before she could get off a shot.

At the other end of the pitch, in first half stoppage time, Emily Sonnett had her back to the play and made a poor touch trying to play the ball back to keeper Adrianna Franch. Rapinoe, hot on Sonnett’s back, swooped in, got to the ball at precisely the right time, and beat Franch to give the Reign a lead heading to halftime.

The Reign controlled long stretches of the match with Rapinoe reaking havoc on the left flank for the entire 90 minutes. The Thorns had their chances though. During the stretch immediately after Fishlock went off, momentum switched to Portland and Sinclair just missed wide on a hard shot from distance. In the second half, Lindsey Horan got midway in the 18 and only a quick reaction to challenge and a great save by Haley Kopmeyer kept her from scoring. At another point, Henry made a rare burst into the 18 and turned a corner on Rebekah Stott before getting off a cross that did not find anyone on either team.

In the 81st minute, Rapinoe put the match away. First, Christine Nairn put her service on a dime for Rapinoe who caught right back Dagny Brynjarsdottir too far up field. As Rapinoe again slipped inside Sonnett she took the ball off the ground following two bounces and drilled it far post by Franch for her 9th of the season.

The Reign (5-2-5,20pts) completed their busy week—with all three games at Memorial—with 7 of a possible 9 points even though Barnes was red carded in the 4th minute last weekend and then had to miss Wednesday to serve the suspension. They’ll have to leave Seattle for Week 12 when they visit North Carolina next Saturday. The Thorns (5-4-3, 18 pts) have dropped three of four and are in Houston next Saturday.

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