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Reign snap skid, beat Spirit 3-1 in Seattle

Seattle Reign FC’s first losing streak since 2013 is over. The defending NWSL Shield winners returned to the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium and remained undefeated there (11-0-4) with a 3-1 victory over the Washington Spirit on Saturday. Beverly Yanez, Merritt Mathias and Jess Fishlock scored for the Reign. The Spirit, who entered the match having won two straight, got a goal by Joanna Lohman.

Yanez got the Reign on top in the 35th minute when Mathias dragged Spirit right back Alex Singer on a lengthy run on the left side and was able to get off a clean, left-footed cross. Yanez was able to one-touch it home for her thirrd goal of the season.

The Spirit began the 2nd half on a run of good possession but the Reign struck with their first deep foray of the half. Kiersten Dallstream drew Spirit left back Katherine Reynolds high and then played a ball deep to Kim Little. Midfielder Christine Nairn raced over to cover but Little had no trouble eluding Nairn and cutting towards the goal line for a back-post cross. Mathias outfought Singer for the header and scored her first Reign goal in the 48th minute.

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A sequence just after an hour had passed gave the Spirit hope. In the 62nd minute they got away with a giveaway from Megan Oyster to Dallstream when Kelsey Wys was able to make a save on Dallstream’s shot. Less than a minute later, Fishlock fell down unopposed, allowing the Spirit to take over in an attacking position. Nairn played a ball to the top of the box for Crystal Dunn, whose one-touch magic found Lohman who streaked between Seattle’s center backs, took one touch, and finished with her second.

The Spirit had long spells of possession after making it 2-1 but too much of it was spent exchanging passes in mundane areas. The Reign finally put it away in the 75th minute with some gorgeous combination play. Fishlock started it, and Fishlock finished it, placing a perfectly played through-ball from Little under Wys and in for the decisive 3-1 score line.

Both teams are now 2-2-0 (6 points) and one point behind the league-leading Red Stars and Thorns.


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