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Reign top lowly Breakers, win 2nd straight Shield

Jess Fishlock and Seattle Reign FC won the NWSL Shield for the second

Jess Fishlock and Seattle Reign FC won the NWSL Shield for the second year in a row. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

There was little doubting how this one was going to end from the opening whistle. Seattle Reign FC steamrolled the visiting Boston Breakers, 3-1 on Wednesday at Memorial Stadium to clinch the NWSL Shield for the second straight season as winners of the regular season.

“It feels great to get the Shield. As a group, we are overall disappointed we let a goal in but I thought we dominated the game,” Reigh head coach and GM Laura Harvey said. “I think its a fantastic achievement for the group.”

Megan Rapinoe, Kim Little and Kendall Fletcher all scored to lift the league-leading Reign past the last-place Breakers. The loss guarantees that the Breakers will finish last in the National Women’s Soccer League and will draft first in the 2016 NWSL College Draft. The Breakers will finish with a lower wins total than last year for the second straight time.

Maddy Evans scored a consolation goal for the Breakers in the 88th minute, chest-trapping a chipped through ball from Kristie Mewis and slotting her left-footed shot past Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo.

In the 56th minute, Kim Little — last season’s league MVP — scored her 10th goal of the season, taking over the team lead from Beverly Yanez, who missed her first Reign game in two seasons with the team due to a left hip strain. Little collected a flick-on from Rapinoe at the top of the 18-yard box and smashed a shot past Breakers goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

Rapinoe nearly opened the scoring in the 8th minute, when her shot was tipped by Naeher and rattled off the crossbar. She wouldn’t need long to get on the board, however. The United States international and recent World Cup winner opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a tap-in off a cross from Stephanie Cox. Rapinoe was involved in the build-up of the play, flicking the ball through to Little, who then found Cox on the left flank with space to cross.

Kendall Fletcher doubled Seattle’s lead in the 33rd minute, lacing a shot from 20 yards out past Naeher, who had just made a miraculous, point-blank save on Rapinoe from inside the 6-yard box in what looked like a sure equalizer. Katie Schopfer’s clearance went straight to Fletcher at the top of the box.

The Breakers finish their season on the road on Sunday against the Houston Dash. Seattle wraps up the regular season by hosting Sky Blue FC on Saturday and visiting the Washington Spirit on Sept. 6 . The Reign will host a semifinal on Sept. 13, The NWSL Championship will be contested on Oct. 1 and hosted by Portland.

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