Hope Solo and the Seattle Reign played host to the Arsenal Ladies FC on Thursday night, playing to a 1-1 draw in a rare midweek tune-up.
More than 4,000 fans were on hand at Memorial Stadium to watch the first ever match between teams from the NWSL and the FA WSL, and head coach Laura Harvey used the opportunity to get game action for the entire roster. Hope played the first 45 minutes before being relieved by Haley Kopmeyer, as 18 women saw action for the Reign.
Harvey also used the opportunity to bring back midfielder Jessica Fishlock, who had missed the last four games due to injury—and the former Arsenal coach came away content with how Seattle performed in the friendly match.
“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 (Fishlock) for thirty minutes — which was great,” Harvey said. “It allowed us to work on things that hadn’t been great against Chicago and in other games as well.”
Along with Hope, Kim Little, Bev Yanez, Rachel Corsie and Lauren Barnes left the match at halftime when Seattle was up, 1-0. Yanez scored the go-ahead goal, finding the top right corner in the 17th minute.
Leading up to that shot, Arsenal goalkeeper Emma Byrne nearly collected the ball before midfielder Lindsay Elston fumbled it away. The loose ball rolled toward Yanez, who fired from the left side of the 18-yard line and in. Almost immediately on the other end, Hope made a falling save, as the Reign settled in on defense. Seattle dominated possession in the first half, not letting Arsenal take many shots at Hope.
The group that subbed in after the break consisted of Haley Kopmeyer, Kiersten Dallstream and Elli Reed, as well as Kathryn Bennett and Erica Shelton. Former Washington Husky McKenzie Karas also came on late in the match. With a new squad in place for the second half, Seattle continued to play aggressively. The Reign got into penalty trouble when midfielder Danielle Van de Donk and defender Kendall Fletcher collided, which resulted in Natalia Pablos scoring on a PK. Pablos tucked the ball into the left corner past the diving arms of Kopmeyer to even the match at 1-1.
While the result of the exhibition was not of high importance, many players got touches, including Fishlock, who had fractured her left tibia in April.
“I took some pretty big and brave decisions with my rehabilitation, sat down with the Reign and came up with a plan,” Fishlock said. “It’s a fast recovery, but no steps have been missed. We were very cautious as well. I just always recover well. I’m part dragon.”
While the Reign continue with their season, Hope will head to the United States Women’s National Team camp this weekend.
The USWNT is next in action in a little over a week, when they face Japan at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. on June 2 at 6 p.m. PT. The two teams square off again three days later for a 9:30 a.m. PT tilt on June 5 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
The USA and Japan last competed in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in Vancouver, B.C. on July 5. USA won 5-2, as Carli Lloyd’s record-setting hat trick pushed the team to its record third Women’s World Cup title.
- USA, Japan set to square off on June 2 in Colorado (US Soccer, Apr. 4, 2016)
- Reign FC earns a 1-1 draw against Arsenal Ladies FC (NWSL, May 26, 2016)
- Seattle Reign Play FA Cup Champions Arsenal to 1-1 draw (Sounder At Heart, May 27, 2016)
- ‘I’m part dragon’: Reign’s Jessica Fishlock back in action against Arsenal (Seattle Times, May 27, 2016)
- Reign FC play Arsenal ladies to 1-1 draw at Memorial Stadium (Seattle Reign FC, May 26, 2016)