SEATTLE, WASHINGTON (August 25, 2018) — There is no battle for first place in the National Women’s Soccer League.
That title — and fight — is long gone. The North Carolina Courage scooped up first place in the league a few weeks ago. North Carolina, one of the most consistent teams in NWSL history, ran away with first place from the start of the season.
Seattle Reign-North Carolina Courage Matchup With Both Teams Sharing Points
Just a week ago, second place was then solidified by Seattle Reign FC. Because of that, the two sides won’t face each other in the upcoming NWSL playoffs.
At least not in the first round.
Instead, the two sides will have different competitors. Right now, the Courage are waiting on which team — between Utah Royals FC and the Chicago Red Stars — will take the trip to Cary, NC. Meanwhile, the Reign FC know that Cascadia rival, Portland Thorns FC, is the club’s first playoff opponent.
Seattle and North Carolina have been solid and consistent this whole season. Because of that, it didn’t shock many fans that the final score of the two side’s weekend match ended in 1-1.
However, North Carolina got extremely lucky.
After only losing one match this season, North Carolina was on the verge of picking up a second loss. However, during the 96th minute, a goal from Lynn Williams picked up another point, giving the Courage 54 points this season.
As for Seattle, Theresa Nielsen picked up the opening goal in the 67th minute. Jessica Fishlock, longtime Reign FC midfielder, recorded the assist.
“That wasn’t the best game of football you want to see,” Fishlock said after the match. “If you’re going to go up against North Carolina and match them for what they are, that’s what’s going to happen. It was a message from our point of view that they can’t bully us, we’re going to fight. We can win playing great football and we probably should’ve won with matching North Carolina’s day.”
“I’m so proud of our girls because we come into this game with injuries, and some people would look at that and think, ‘This Seattle Reign aren’t our best.'”
— NWSL (@NWSL) August 25, 2018
- Rapinoe out with rib injury: According to U.S. Soccer — not the Reign — Megan Rapinoe missed out on the North Carolina match, and will miss the upcoming U.S. Women’s National Team camp, due to a rib injury. Rapinoe picked up the injury against the Houston Dash on August 21. There is no timetable on Rapinoe’s return. She isn’t even listed on the official NWSL injury report.
- A whole new attacking front: It’s interesting to see that Nielsen scored, considering she’s a natural defender. With Rapinoe, Rumi Utsugi and Allie Long out, there was a large crop of attackers missing for Seattle. Entering the starting lineup were Elizabeth Addo, Morgan Andrews, and Kristen McNabb.
- These two teams will be in the final: I still stand by the fact that North Carolina is going to take home the trophy again this year. However, despite injuries plaguing the Seattle Reign, I can’t see the Portland Thorns — being as inconsistent as the team was this year — beating out the number two team.
— Seattle Reign FC (@ReignFC) August 26, 2018