Rapinoe’s PK lifts Seattle Reign FC over Sky Blue FC 1-0
Megan Rapinoe scored her second goal of the season

By Celia Balf

Seattle Reign FC spoiled Sky Blue FC’s home opener with a 1-0 win on a rainy and windy Sunday night at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey. The Reign are now 2-0-0 on the season, while Sky Blue FC are now 0-2-0.

The game was Carli Lloyd‘s first home NWSL game in a Sky Blue FC uniform, as well as the home debut of new coach Denise Reddy. Both Lloyd and Reddy are Rutgers alums and New Jersey natives. Lloyd got recognized before the game for scoring her 100th international goal with the U.S. women’s national team. Lloyd’s milestone was reached in the USWNT’s victory over Mexico on April 8.

In just the fifth minute of play, Sky Blue FC got themselves in a difficult position after defender Erica Skroski was called for a handball in the box. NWSL’s reigning Player of the Month, Megan Rapinoe stepped up to take the penalty kick for the visiting Reign FC. In the sixth minute Rapinoe converted to earn her second goal of the season.

In the 17th minute of play the Reign FC looked like they were going to get their second on the night. Midfielder Beverly Yanez had space down the right flank and served one across the box where Rapinoe was able to collect it. Rapinoe took a touch across her body to her left foot but was taken down by Kailen Sheridan. The play went on with no foul called. Jessica Fishlock not too long after Rapinoe’s chance fed Rapinoe through with a dangerous ball that split Sky Blue’s defensive line. Sky Blue defender Christina Gibbons kept Rapinoe in front of her and forced her to shoot at a difficult angle. The shot went high. Rapinoe finished the game with four shots and four on goal. After three weeks of NWSL games Rapinoe leads with 13 shots and 7 shots on goal.

Sky Blue saw their best chances to equalize in the second half. Forward Shea Groom was dangerous in a 1-v-1 situation on the right side and was able to get a shot off, however her strike just kissed the post and was knocked away by Reign FC goalkeeper Michelle Betos. The play was a build-up from the midfield starting with rookie midfielder Savannah McCaskill.

The second half continued on as weather worsened and both teams struggled to finish in the final third. However in the 86th minute, Seattle had the chance to double their lead after being awarded a penalty kick. The foul was called on Skroski and Reign FC’s Jodie Taylor stepped up to take the PK. Sky Blue’s Sheridan came up big at home and saved the low-driven right shot. The rebound went out to Reign FC’s Kiersten Dallstream and again, Sheridan made the follow-up save to keep her team within one. Sheridan finished the match with three saves to Betos’ one.

Rapinoe left the game in the 57th minute with what appeared to be an injury to her left hamstring. Dallstream subbed in to replace her.

Despite dropping three points at home, Sky Blue FC held the better end of the game’s possession with a 56.3% to the Reign’s 43.7%. The home team also had a higher passing accuracy on the slippery evening with 71.4% to the Reign’s 63.7%.

Sky Blue FC will hit the road in Week 4 to play the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, April 21. Seattle will continue their road trip and face the league-leading North Carolina Courage for a midweek game on Wednesday, April 18.

This story will be updated.

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