The Reign allowed Thorns FC to control possession of the ball, ultimately losing 2-1 before a crowd of 6,041 at Memorial Stadium.
Add that the match was against heated rival Portland at Memorial Stadium, and Harvey believed it was the right setting for Seattle to fix the issues that caused the Reign to lose three of its past four games.
But the Reign allowed Thorns FC to control possession of the ball, ultimately losing 2-1 before a crowd of 6,041.
“This team (Reign) is renowned for responding, and they didn’t,” a visibly disturbed Harvey said after the match. “We didn’t deserve anything out of this game.”
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Seattle did get something, however. Midfielder Jess Fishlock scored the Reign’s lone goal off a penalty kick in the 90th minute. Seattle couldn’t get the equalizer in stoppage time, uncapping a celebration by fans in red to support the Thorns.
One adorned forward Hayley Raso with a crown of plastic red roses. The young Australian scored both of Portland’s goals, in the 49th and 86th minutes.
Portland (11-5-4) snapped a five-game losing streak against Seattle (7-7-6) and became the first team in NWSL history with 50 franchise wins.
“The bus is going to be absolutely rocking. I’m actually scared at what’s going to happen,” Portland coach Mark Parsons said of the trip back home. “The performance was one of our strongest and best of the season, especially the first half — that was incredible. We go from this game knowing we could have scored a couple more goals and put the game to bed earlier and not have the stress at the end. But it was a very strong performance.”
The Thorns used a fast-paced style to create a 17-1 shot disparity in the opening half. Defensively, Portland blocked eight of Seattle’s attempts, and in the first half the visitors had 75.1 percent passing accuracy.
There were five yellow cards distributed in the second half, two on Seattle. But Portland topped Seattle 6-1 in the shots-on-goal category.
“We struggled with owning the game,” Reign forward Katie Johnson said. “They did a good job possessing the ball and moving it quickly. We were late to react.”
Both teams also treated the game as a must-win because of playoff implications. Portland is second in the NWSL standings with 37 points. Seattle’s 27 points trail Chicago by two for the fourth and final slot in the postseason.
The Reign has four games remaining — a possible 12 points on the table. But three of the games are on the road, Seattle playing its home finale Sept. 24 against Kansas City (6-9-5, 23 points).
“We have to decide what we want to do,” Harvey said. “Do we want to be the team that misses out again on the playoffs because of our own fault? Or do we want to be the team that pushes every single inch to get there? Mathematically, we can still get there. We won’t get there if we play like we did today.”