Forward has a goal and an assist as the new-look Seattle club, with new coach Vlatko Andonovski, beat Washington 2-1.
The Vlatko Andonovski era is off to a fine start.
But even with a new coach at the helm and plenty of new faces, it was a Reign FC stalwart, Megan Rapinoe, that guided Seattle in its 2-1 season-opening win against the Washington Spirit in front of 3,561 at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
Rapinoe tallied a goal and an assist and created plenty more chances for the Reign.
“What Rapinoe can do, not many players in this world can do, and we always said as a team that we are going to adjust and adapt around Rapinoe,” Andonovski said. “Because her creativity is something we cannot withhold.”
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Rapinoe struck first in the seventh minute, scoring off a free kick from well outside the 18-yard box.
“I actually thought it was a little far out, but it was kind of in that in-between space that can’t really serve it in there, so I just shot it,” Rapinoe said.
Washington’s Ashley Hatch fouled Seattle midfielder Allie Long on a tackle and Rapinoe made the Spirit pay, bending a well-placed shot in the upper-left corner of the goal.
Jodie Taylor netted the Reign’s second goal in the 35th minute, after the forward’s shot was barely deflected by Washington goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. The ball retained its forward momentum and slowly rolled over the goal line.
Taylor is one of the Reign’s aforementioned newcomers. The English National Team star is well-traveled throughout England and the NWSL, with stints with the Spirit and the Portland Thorns as well as Arsenal FC.
What does she bring to Reign FC? For Andonovski, the answer is simple.
“Goals,” he said. “Jodie Taylor is a true goal-scorer. She always finds a way to put herself in a good goal-scoring opportunity and she’s scored one and had a few more opportunities, but hopefully in the next few weeks she’ll have more goals with her opportunities.”
Joanna Lohman, who entered the game as a substitute at the start of the second half, rocketed a shot off the left goal post and into the net in the 69th minute to cut the Reign’s lead to 2-1.
Lohman saw her first action on Saturday since tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in the 2017 season opener.
Reign FC dominated the first half, outshooting the Spirit 15-4, including eight shots on target. The Spirit put more pressure on the Reign after intermission, accumulating 13 second-half shots and placing eight of those on frame.
The Reign plays Sky Blue FC on April 15 in Piscataway, N.J., in their next match.