Kim Little’s stoppage time equalizer extended Seattle Reign FC’s unbeaten start to the season to nine games as they tied the Western New York Flash 2-2 on Sunday at Memorial Stadium.
Little’s goal tied her for the NWSL lead with eight goals — keeping pace with FC Kansas City’s Amy Rodriguez, who also scored Sunday — and extended the first-place Reign’s league-lead to seven points over the Chicago Red Stars.
The Flash had taken the lead in the 62nd minute after midfielder Carli Lloyd beat U.S. teammate Hope Solo from eight yards out. Vicky Losada served an in-swinging corner kick toward the back post, where Abby Wambach redirected the ball back across the face of goal and an unmarked Lloyd headed it into the net.
Western New York hunkered down late and looked like it would get three points from its Pacific Northwest road trip, which saw the Flash lose to Portland Thorns FC on Wednesday to suffer their first NWSL losing streak in team history. But lapses late in each half on Sunday would derail the Flash.
Wambach gave Western New York the lead in the 17th minute after Reign defender Kendall Fletcher uncharacteristically scuffed a clearance right to Wambach inside the 18-yard box, and the world’s all-time leading goal scorer calmly beat Solo for the 1-0 lead.
Seattle failed to even put a shot on target until the 45th minute, but the Reign proved efficient when they finally did. Defender Stephanie Cox sent a lofted cross into the box from the left flank and Jessica Fishlock, making a deep run from the midfield, stretched out her right foot for the cool, one-time finish and equalizer just before halftime.
That goal swung the momentum as Seattle came out of halftime with more energy and chances. Kiersten Dallstream, playing as a forward for the second straight game instead of her usual defensive role, missed an uncontested header from eight yards out in the 58th minute, failing to even put the ball on frame.
Sydney Leroux nearly gave the Reign the lead 10 minutes later but for a tip-save from Flash goalkeeper Kelsey Wys, and Jessica Fishlock smacked a 30-yard free kick off the crossbar just three minutes before Little’s equalizer.
The Flash (3-3-2, 11 pts.) return home Saturday for a critical match against the Houston Dash, which is sandwiched between this three-game road trip and another one on the back side of that game in Rochester, N.Y. Meanwhile, Seattle (7-0-2, 23 pts.) heads to New Jersey on Sunday to play a Sky Blue FC side that just took three points in Portland on Saturday.
Seattle Reign FC vs. Western New York Flash May 25, 2014 — Moda Health Pitch at Memorial Stadium (Seattle, Wash.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Seattle Reign FC 1 1 2
Western New York Flash 1 1 2
WNY – Wambach (Bermudez), 17
SRFC – Fishlock (Cox), 45
WNY – Lloyd (Wambach), 62
SRFC – Little (Goebel), 92+
SRFC: Jessica Fishlock (Caution), 65
WNY: Carli Lloyd (Caution), 73
Lineups & Stats
SRFC: GK Hope Solo, F Sydney Leroux, D Lauren Barnes, Midfielder Elli Reed (Mariah Nogueira, 74), Midfielder Kim Little, Midfielder Jessica Fishlock, Midfielder Keelin Winters, Defender Kendall Fletcher, Defender Stephanie Cox, Midfielder Beverly Goebel, Forward Kiersten Dallstream
WNY: GK Kelsey Wys, Midfielder Angela Salem, Midfielder McCall Zerboni (Amy Barczuk, 89), Forward Sonia Bermudez (Jasmyne Spencer, 63), Midfielder Carli Lloyd, Defender Kristen Edmonds, Defender Brittany Taylor, Midfielder Vicky Losada, Defender Katherine Reynolds, Defender Kathryn Williamson, Forward Abby Wambach
Referee: Josh Wilkens
Assistant Referees: Veronica Perez; Des Miller
4th Official: Lucas Brooks
Weather: Rainy, 55 degrees
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