With Heavy Hearts, Hope & Reign Draw vs. Portland

Hope Solo suited up for the Seattle Reign with a heavy heart on Saturday.

Hope’s beloved grandma Alice passed away on Thursday. The Seattle Reign and USWNT goalkeeper honored her No. 1 fan on social media on Thursday, and the Reign FC and their faithful fans did the same ahead of Saturday’s match against the Portland Thorns.

After a moment of silence to start the match, Hope was called into action almost immediately.

Just a short time into the game, Allie Long sent a free kick deep into the box, where Lindsey Horan had a running shot at a goal, but No. 1 stepped up to challenge and force the attempt off its mark.

Hope logged two saves on eight Portland shots over the course of the afternoon at Memorial Stadium. The Reign outshot their Cascadia rivals 9-8, but the Thorns held a 4-2 shot-on-goal advantage.

“We obviously reduced them to minimal chances,” said head coach Laura Harvey. “But I think we should be disappointed that we didn’t win, given the amount of possession we had and pressure that we put on them.”

PTFC had another close chance late in the first half, but No. 1 stood tall to the challenge.

Meg Morris chipped a ball over the Seattle defense near midfield. Nadia Nadim appeared to be offside when the pass was sent forward, but no flag was raised. As she broke away, Hope stepped up and cut off any angles, forcing the Portland forward’s shot wide.

The first half ended with the scored knotted at nil-nil, but it took no time for the Thorns to break through after the break. A miscommunication between Hope and defender Lauren Barnes opened the window for the Portland score. Less than a minute into the second half, Morris lofted the ball into the box, on a throw in, where Nadim was one-on-one with Lauren Barnes. Nadim timed the awkward bounce perfectly and leapt up over Barnes, heading the ball out of Hope’s reach for the first tally of the night.

The Seattle teammates spoke about the miscue immediately afterward attempting to get their communication in order as Portland pulled ahead. However, the Reign offense had the backs of their defense and Seattle wasted little time evening things back up, with Barnes even providing the assist.

Just minutes after the miscue on the other end of the pitch, Barnes struck a brilliant corner kick deep toward Portland’s back post, where Beverly Yanez awaited and headed home the equalizer.

“Obviously, we’re really disappointed with the goal we conceded, but I was really proud of the players’ attitude and response to a performance last week (a 2-0 loss to Orlando) that we really weren’t proud of,” Harvey said. “When you concede a goal like we did, it can be easy to crumble, but to respond so quickly gave us a lot of hope.”

Unfortunately, the Reign couldn’t parlay that momentum into a game-winning score. Several nervous moments followed for both sides after the half-opening goals, along with a deluge of physical play, but neither squad could break through for the deciding goal.

At 2-2-1, the Reign are in a three-way tie for fifth on the National Women’s Soccer League table. Next on the slate for Seattle is a Sunday evening meeting on May 22 with the second-ranked Chicago Red Stars (3-1-1) at Memorial Stadium. The match is set to begin at 4 p.m. PT.

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