With Nahomi Kawasumi leading the way, Seattle Reign blows away Portland 5-0
Nahomi Kawasumi has two goals as Reign improves record to 14-1-4
Seattle Times staff reporter
Reign @ Houston, 6 p.m.
Forward Nahomi Kawasumi dreamed Saturday night that Reign FC beat Portland 5-0.
The only difference between that dream and reality was that Kawasumi scored only two of the five goals in the match Sunday, instead of all five as she had envisioned.
“We were dominant and we were really dangerous,” Reign coach Laura Harvey said after the match at Memorial Stadium that drew 5,957 spectators.
Sydney Leroux put the Reign (14-1-4) on the board early after she took the ball down the end line and sneaked it into the net from a narrow angle in the third minute, and Seattle wouldn’t let up off the gas for the rest of the match.
In the 40th minute, Kim Little floated a cross from the far side over to Kawasumi, whose header gave the Reign a 2-0 lead heading into the half.
The same players hooked up on Seattle’s next goal, in the 49th minute. Little sent another on-point assist to Kawasumi, who took advantage of an open look in the box and gave the Reign a 3-0 advantage early in the second half.
“With Portland playing three back on their defensive line, there was just a lot of opening spots today, more so than usual,” Kawasumi said through her translator.
Kawasumi wasn’t tired of scoring yet, so in the 57th minute, she added an assist to her stat line. From the far side of the box, Kawasumi fired a cross over to Megan Rapinoe, who headed the ball into the bar. It bounced safely into the net behind Portland goalkeeper Nadine Angerer.
“Naho (Kawasumi) is one of those players where you always know she’s going to work hard, always know she’s going to have flashes in the game where she’s going to look good, but she probably has one or two games where she comes in and out of it,” Harvey said. “And then she has one game where she really puts her stamp on it.”
Kawasumi put her stamp on this game, and Seattle put its stamp on the Thorns (8-7-6), dominating possession throughout.
With six shots on goal, the Thorns got looks at the net, but couldn’t convert.
Alex Morgan had a couple of good looks and finished with three shots, which led the Thorns. In stoppage time of the first half, she took a shot from the far corner of the box, but Hope Solo saved it for Seattle.
Morgan had another shot in the 66th minute from about 25 yards out at the top of the box, but Solo recorded another save.
Seattle only added to the Thorns’ misery in stoppage time. Little dribbled around defenders and fired in a shot from the top corner of the box for the 5-0 final.
With the victory, Seattle has 46 points and a nine-point cushion over the NWSL’s second-place team, FC Kansas City. The Reign clinched a playoff berth last week with its tie with Chicago.