Reign strike first blood in rivalry with Thorns

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The Seattle Reign’s first preseason game didn’t feel at all like a preseason game. Behind goals by Havana Solaun and Jess Fishlock the Reign won the first of 5 games played against the Thorns this season. After months of no NWSL games it was refreshing to not have to watch the USWNT’s messy midfield and instead watch the Reign do their thing.

Here are some of my thoughts from the game.

Kim and Jess still look like the wonder twins

Kim Little and Jess Fishlock are the best duo in the league. With Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Holiday’s partnership broken up due to pregnancy and retirement there is no longer a question of which duo reigns supreme. All night it was a pleasure watching the two of them work together to create chances and to make things happen. Playing in Australia has kept them on the same page and I’m all for it.

Someone packed the wrong cleats

I am not one to usually notice the gear players have on. The training tops turned jerseys for the game caught my eye but 5 minutes later I didn’t really notice them. But all game I did notice how much the Reign players were slipping and sliding around on the Thorns pitch. Winters ended up on the ground at least three or four times seemingly slipping on her own each time. Whatever the problem I hope it’s fixed before the next game.

The rookies seem to fit in just fine

One thing that was pretty clear after watching the Reign play is just how well the new parts fit in. Sure there will be some games where styles need to mesh and players need to figure out what those around them need. But the first preseason game showed how much the players Laura Harvey brought in fit with the current Reign style. It will be great to watch this team grow tighter and tighter this season.

Match Report provided by the Reign

Match: Seattle Reign FC v. Portland Thorns FC
Date: March 27, 2016
Venue: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Kickoff: 5 p.m. PT
Attendance: 5,133

Scoring Summary

SEA – 75’ Solaun
SEA – 77’ Fishlock

Misconduct Summary

SEA – Caution – Merritt Mathias
POR – Caution – Lindsey Horan
POR – Caution – Nadia Nadim

Lineups & Stats

SEA: GK Hope Solo, D Rachel Corsie, D Kendall Fletcher (46’ Carson Pickett**), D Lauren Barnes, D Elli Reed (78’ Michelle Cruz), M Keelin Winters (63’ Lindsey Elston*), M Jessica Fishlock, M Kim Little, F Beverly Yanez (79’ Dani Foxhoven*), F Manon Melis (72’ Havana Solaun), and F Merritt Mathias (63’ Kiersten Dallstream).

Substitutes Not Used: GK Kopmeyer, GK Tostanoski*, D Nielsen**, M Bennett*

* – indicates non-roster invitee ** – indicates 2016 college draft pick

POR: GK Michelle Betos, D Kat Williamson (Reynolds, 46’), D Emily Menges, D Emily Sonnett, D Meghan Klingenberg, M Allie Long, M Lindsey Horan, M Tobin Heath, M Dagny Brynjarsdottir (Boureille*, 79’), F Nadia Nadim, and F Christine Sinclair (Pratt*, 63’).

Substitutes Not Used: GK Franch, D Berryhill**, M Zadrazil*

* – indicates non-roster invitee ** – indicates 2016 college draft pick