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Melis scores brace to lead Reign 3-1 over Thorns

In the first game back from the Olympic break for both Cascadia rivals, the Seattle Reign defeated the Portland Thorns 3-1 in front of 5,888 fans on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Seattle. The Thorns’ U.S. national team players were back in the team’s starting XI, as well as French midfielder Amandine Henry, while U.S. national teamer Megan Rapinoe was available off the bench for the Reign.

However, Henry unfortunately was forced to leave the match in the 17th minute due to injury. Mana Shim replaced her.

Manon Melis opened the scoring for the Reign in the 27th minute. The Reign won the ball in the middle of the park, where Keelin Winters sent a pass across the field to Nahomi Kawasumi, who sent in a perfectly weighted ball to Melis through two Portland defenders. Melis chipped keeper Michelle Betos to give her side the 1-0 lead.

Just five minutes after the halftime break, Seattle extended their lead. Portland’s Katherine Reynolds sent a pass to Emily Sonnett with Melis on her heels, but Sonnett was too lax in receiving the pass. Melis took advantage of Sonnett’s mistake, beat her to the ball, and finished past Betos to put her team up 2-0. The ball seemed to go out of play before Reynolds made her pass, however the assistant referee did not raise her flag and both teams played on.

Rapinoe checked into the match in the 78th minute for her first minutes of the season for the Reign.

In a wild sequence of events in stoppage time, Allie Long was able to pull one back for the Thorns with a beautiful finish off of a free kick from Tobin Heath.

The game immediately got stretched after Long’s goal as the Thorns desperately searched for an equalizer, and the Reign took advantage of this, as Rapinoe was able to score her first goal of the season on a counter attack, assisted by a pass from Jessica Fishlock.

With the win, Seattle’s playoff hopes are still alive. They sit in 5th with 23 points at the moment, while Portland sit 2nd with 29 points.

Next up for the Reign is an away date with the Chicago Red Stars next Sunday, September 4, while the Thorns are back at home next Sunday to face the Boston Breakers.


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