Flat home opener for Reign FC in 1-0 loss to FC Kansas City
A crowd of 2,618, just the sixth-best crowd for a home opener in the new National Women's Soccer League, watched at Starfire Stadium.
Seattle Times staff reporter
TUKWILA — Not quite full, but not nearly empty.
Reign FC held its first home game Saturday against FC Kansas City, and Seattle's professional women's soccer team got decent support, drawing 2,618 fans for a 1-0 loss at Starfire Stadium.
The Reign suffered its third straight defeat to fall to 0-3-1 on the season, having started the first three games on the road.
Off the field, a somewhat reserved crowd, at least for a community renowned nationally for its soccer fandom, ranked sixth-largest out of eight home openers in the new National Women's Soccer League.
"I would've liked to cap the night with a win, for sure, but it was gratifying to see people out here having fun," said owner Bill Predmore. "We wanted to give people a great soccer experience, and I think women's soccer can be just as exciting and just as much fun as going to watch the Sounders or any men's soccer."
Kansas City (2-0-1) scored the lone goal in the 69th minute when forward Renae Cuellar calmly finished a cross by defender Becky Sauerbrunn after some nice buildup down the right side.
Cuellar, a Mexican international, is tied for second in the league with three goals this season.
"Their goal was a really good goal, and that's the first time I can say that about any team that's played us," said coach Laura Harvey.
Offense was once again an issue for Seattle as it pressed for an equalizer that never came. The Reign, without a couple of its top attacking options, hasn't scored in 196 minutes and only has two goals in four games.
"Tonight is the one that probably hurts the most of the four games," said Harvey. "And I'm not saying we deserved to win it, but we didn't deserve to lose it."
Kansas City also beat the Reign at home last week, 2-0.
The visitors controlled most of a scoreless first half Saturday despite a slim 8-7 shot advantage. Seattle's closest look was in the 41st minute, but midfielder Jess Fishlock, after playing a give-and-go with forward Kristina Larsen, fired a right-footed shot just wide.
Reign FC's next game is on the road May 11 against Sky Blue FC in Piscataway, N.J., followed by four straight at home.
"If people are going to come and watch and support us like they did tonight, then undoubtedly we will be sustainable for a long time," Harvey said.
Predmore said he was "super happy" with the turnout.
"If everybody comes back next time," he said, "we'll get a win for them."
• Seattle goalkeeper Hope Solo (wrist surgery) and forward Amy Rodriguez (starting a family) were unavailable, but the pair of American internationals were among those in attendance. U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe remains on loan with France's Lyon until June.