Reign loses finale, now gets ready for playoffs
PORTLAND — The Seattle Reign lost its regular-season finale, just its second loss of the season, falling 1-0 to the Portland Thorns on Sunday in a National Women’s Soccer League game at Providence Park.
Despite the loss, Seattle (16-2-6) still finished in first place with a league-record 54 points, 13 points ahead of second-place FC Kansas City, and 16 points ahead of the previous record for points in a season.
Alex Morgan scored the game’s lone goal in the 68th minute for Portland (10-8-6, 36 points), which clinched the third seed in the NWSL playoffs, and a matchup with FC Kansas City on Saturday.
The Thorns’ win eliminated the Chicago Red Stars from playoff contention, meaning NWSL shield winner Seattle will face the Washington Spirit on Sunday at Memorial Stadium with an NWSL title game berth on the line. That game is at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast by ESPN2.
Seattle was unable to finish against a staunch Portland back line, with several near misses. Just before halftime, a volley on target by Japanese international Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi was tipped over the net by goalkeeper Nadine Angerer to keep the game scoreless.
In the 56th minute, forward Megan Rapinoe fired a free kick off the wall of Portland defenders, and saw her shot off the rebound tipped away by Angerer at the near post.
Seattle won the season series with Portland 2-1.