Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center, site of Thursday friendly between Seattle Reign and Arsenal Ladies FC. Don Ruiz Staff writer
Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center, site of Thursday friendly between Seattle Reign and Arsenal Ladies FC. Don Ruiz Staff writer

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Reign-Arsenal draw; S2 loses in Portland

May 27, 2016 07:22 AM

UPDATED May 27, 2016 07:26 AM

Both the Seattle Reign and Sounders 2 were in action Thursday night, the Reign playing to a 1-1 draw with the Arsenal Ladies in a friendly at Memorial Stadium, while S2 lost a league match at Portland.

Below, reports from both clubs:

In a historic match at Memorial Stadium, Seattle Reign FC played Arsenal Ladies FC to a 1-1 draw in an international friendly in front of a crowd of 4,083 on Thursday evening. It was the first match between an NWSL team and a club from the FA WSL.

The match carried special significance for Reign FC, as Arsenal is the former club of head coach Laura Harvey and midfielder Kim Little. Harvey led Arsenal to the FA Cup and FA WSL titles in 2011.

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Reign FC started the match off strong, opening the scoring in the 17th minute. Midfielder Havana Solaun sent a twenty-five yard pass through the midfield to the top of the box, where midfielder Lindsay Elston collected the pass, but was immediately stripped of the ball by Arsenal goalkeeper Emma Bryne. The loose ball rolled toward forward Beverly Yanez, who fired a shot from the left side of the 18-yard line, sending it into the right top corner of the frame.

Jessica Fishlock, who started the match and was playing her first minutes for Seattle since breaking her left tibia on April 24, departed the match in the 32nd minute, with defender Kendall Fletcher entering as her replacement.

“What I didn’t want to do was overplay tonight. All I needed from today’s game was to see whether I was okay with tackling or jumping,” said Fishlock. “So if I wasn’t okay, then Sunday is out of the question. I played thirty minutes today and all of it seemed fine. This game was important for me from a personal perspective.”

In the 37th minute, Reign FC came close to extending its lead when midfielder Kim Little chased down a cross from forward Paige Nielsen into the right side of the box, but lost her footing at the top of the six-yard box. Little quickly recovered, dancing around Arsenal defender Josephine Henning before turning and firing a shot that was deflected over the crossbar.

After halftime, both Reign FC made several changes, with Kim Little, Bev Yanez, Hope Solo, Rachel Corsie, Lauren Barnes all leaving the match. The group was replaced by Haley Kopmeyer, Kiersten Dallstream and Elli Reed, as well as Reign FC reserve team players Kathryn Bennett and Erica Shelton.

Arsenal created a chance to level the score in the 64th minute, when midfielder Danielle Van de Donk and Seattle defender Kendall Fletcher collided at the corner of the six-yard box, sending Van de Donk to the ground and earning a penalty for the visitors. Forward Natalia Pablos Sanchon took the kick, burying a shot in the bottom left of the frame beneath a diving Haley Kopmeyer, leveling the score at 1-1.

Reign FC saw a chance for a game winner in the 80th minute when Bennett was fouled by forward Chloe Kelly on the far side of the field, 30 yards from goal. Midfielder Lindsay Elston took the kick for Reign FC, launching a cross which was caught by goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal.

Harvey was impressed with Fishlock’s first performance since her injury, but also pleased with how her team addressed the problems seen in May 22’s loss to the Chicago Red Stars.

“For what we wanted it to be, it served its purpose pretty well. We got players minutes on the field who hadn’t had them and got a chance to see Jess for thirty minutes – which was great,” said Harvey. “It allowed us to work on things that hadn’t been great against Chicago and in other games as well.”

Reign FC will face its regional rivals, Portland Thorns FC, this Sunday, May 29 at 4:00 p.m. PT at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. Last time the I-5 foes met on May 14 at Memorial Stadium, the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Reign FC goalkeeper Hope Solo will be absent from Sunday’s lineup as she will be in Denver, Colo. preparing for the U.S. Women’s National Team’s matches against Japan on June 2 and June 5. Six Portland players, including goalkeeper Adrianne Franch, defenders Meghan Klingenberg and Emily Sonnett, and midfielders Tobin Heath, Allie Long and Lindsey Horan will also be absent from Sunday’s match as a result of their commitments to the USWNT.

Fans can watch the live-stream of Sunday’s match at youtube.com/nwsl.

On Sunday, June 12, Reign FC will return home to face the Houston Dash at Memorial Stadium, with kickoff set for 4:00 p.m. PT. Tickets begin at $18 and can be purchased at reignfc.com/dash or by calling (855)-REIGN-FC.

Here’s the report on S2:

Sounders FC 2 (1-6-4, 7 points) was defeated by a score of 1-0 to Portland Timbers 2 (4-6-1, 13 points) at Providence Park in the first contest between the rivals of 2016. Seattle put five shots on frame to Portland's four, but ultimately it was Portland's Villyan Bijev who provided the match's lone score in the 25th minute. Next up, S2 visits Orange County Blues FC for a contest on June 4 (7:00 p.m. PT / live-streamed at SoundersFC.com).

In the 18th minute, Myron Samuel nearly put the Rave Green up 1-0. The second-year forward sent a dangerous cross from the left flank into Portland's area, but a charging Victor Mansaray barely missed while sliding toward goal. Midfielder Mark O'Ojong received Portland's clearance at the top of the 18-yard-box, but his well-struck shot was stopped by goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh.

Portland took the lead in the 25th minute with a one-timed strike from Bijev. The 23-year-old Bulgarian received a pass near the top of Seattle's area, and then sent well-placed ball past goalkeeper Charlie Lyon.

In the second half, S2 kept the scoring margin at 1-0 despite good chances from the host side. In the 58th minute, Kharlton Belmar sent a shot wide on a one-on-one challenge with Lyon. Five minutes later, Bijev sailed a penalty-kick wide after Lyon took him down in his own area. In the 84th minute, Lyon made an off-balance save from close range on a shot by Ben Polk.

S2, however, couldn't capitalize offensively. In the 70th minute, Mansaray weaved through multiple defenders into Portland's area, but couldn't stay on his feet for the finish. Defender Nouhou Tolo blasted a shot from the right-side of the net, although his attempt was parried by McIntosh in the 83rd minute.

S2 continues its road stretch with a tilt against Orange County Blues FC on Saturday, June 4 (7:00 p.m. PT / live-streamed on SoundersFC.com). S2 Flex Plans are available now. For a cost of $100, choose any eight combinations for all remaining S2 home matches. Additional information on the S2 Flex Plan, season tickets, group tickets or single-match options, can be found via: www.SoundersFC.com/S2/Tickets.

MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 2 | 0-1| Portland Timbers 2

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Venue: Providence Park

Referee: Alex Chilowicz

Assistants: Jeremiah Hickman, Tymon Emch

Fourth Official: William Baldwin

Weather: Cloudy and 46 degrees

SCORING SUMMARY'

POR - Villyan Bijev (Seth Casiple) 25'

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

None

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC 2 - Charlie Lyon; Devon Fisher, Michael Nelson,Tobi Jnohope, Nouhou Tolo;

Mark O'Ojong, Jordan Schweitzer, Zach Mathers; Carlos Patino, Victor Mansaray, Myron Samuel

Substitutes Used: Lorenzo Ramos, Willy Kapawa, Handwalla Bwana, Emir Alihodzic, Kei Tomozawa, Henry Baldwin

Substitutes Not Used: Matt Bersano