Hope Solo made her National Women’s Soccer League debut on Saturday and had little to deal with until a dubious 83rd minute penalty kick.
Christine Sinclair stepped up to finish the kick from the spot for Portland Thorns FC, which prevailed 1-0 over Seattle Reign FC in front of 3,324 fans at Starfire Stadium. It was the seventh straight loss for the still winless Reign.
What referee Margaret Domka saw that made her blow her whistle for a foul in the box is unknown. A clear handball in the box on Seattle went unpenalized earlier in the second half.
It brought to an end one of the more complete performances for Seattle against a Portland team that looked flat and uninspiring for the second time in 10 days. Reign FC looked to have some hope for a draw until that late whistle, and Seattle coach Laura Harvey didn’t pull punches postgame.
“The referees are a joke,” she told SoccerWire’s Liviu Bird.
“Unfortunately, Portland didn’t earn the victory,” Solo said, via SoccerWire. “And I think that’s what’s most disappointing for our team. They didn’t earn it. Dubious call. Referee gives it up. That’s really all I’ve got to say.”
The chippy game had the feel of a derby and Domka struggled to gain control of the match.
Seattle falls to 0-7-1 with the loss and remains at the bottom of the table. Solo will depart to train with the United States in Canada (she is not rostered for June 2) and will more than likely miss more time for the June 15 and 20 U.S. games vs. South Korea. But just her presence on Saturday seemed to help the struggling Reign. Whether or not Harvey can muster up the right mix to get Seattle on the board remains to be seen.
Special thanks to Mike Russell for the Solo photo. Check out www.mikerussellfoto.com for more.
Portland (6-1-1, 19 pts.), meanwhile, keeps pace with co-leaders Sky Blue FC, who beat FC Kansas City earlier in the night.
Portland Thorns FC (6-1-1, 19pts) vs. Seattle Reign FC (0-7-1, 1pts)
May 25, 2013 – Starfire Sports Complex (Tukwila, Wash.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
POR 0 1 1
SEA 0 0 0
POR: Sinclair (penalty kick), 84
POR: Edwards (Caution), 30
POR: Morgan (Caution), 38
POR: Dougherty (Caution), 51
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Karina LeBlanc; D Marian Dougherty, D Rachel Buehler, D Kathryn Williamson, D Nikki Marshall, M Becky Edwards, M Allie Long, M Meleana Shim (F Danielle Foxhoven, 67), M Angie Kerr (M Courtney Wetzel, 76), F Christine Sinclair (capt.), F Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adelaide Gay, D Jazmyne Avant, M Elizabeth Guess, F Jessica Shufelt
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Sinclair, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Sinclair, Morgan, Foxhoven, 1); FOULS: 12 (Edwards, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 5
SEA: GK Hope Solo, D Lauren Barnes, D Kristen Meier, D Kaylyn Kyle, D Kiersten Dallstream, M Jessica Fishlock, M Keelin Winters, M Christine Nairn, F Liz Bogus (F Kristina Larsen, 86), F Tiffany Cameron, F Teresa Noyol
Substitutes Not Used: GK Michelle Betos, GK Haley Kopmeyer, D Emily Zurrer, M Elli Reed, M Lyndsey Patterson, F Lindsay Taylor
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Noyola, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Two players tied, 2); FOULS: 9 (Two players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 2
Referee: Margaret Domka
Assistant Referees: Veronica Perez, Ian Johnson
Fourth Official: Ray Moffatte, Jr.
Weather: 61 degrees, partly cloudy