In the 2-1 win over Houston, Reign defender Rachel Corsie scored the winning goal on a header in the 59th minute to help Seattle reach the postseason for the second straight season.
Seattle Reign FC clinched its second straight postseason berth with a 2-1 win against the Houston Dash on Wednesday before a crowd of 6,021 at Memorial Stadium.
Reign defender Rachel Corsie scored the winning goal on a header in the 59th minute. The ball, off a corner toss from Stephanie Cox, went past Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod’s grasp on the right side.
“I was so close, it was easy to put it in the net,” Corsie said afterward.
Many gathered to see World Cup star Carli Lloyd, who played her first match in Seattle since her historic hat trick to lead the U.S. women’s national team to the title in Vancouver.
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Lloyd was blanketed by Seattle’s defense, however, unable to do anything notable in the match.
“It’s frustrating,” said Lloyd, whose team is on a three-game losing streak. “We didn’t really have possession in the final third, so there weren’t many (scoring) opportunities. We need to do a better job of keeping the ball higher up on the field to create chances.”
The Dash continued to struggle in Seattle, falling to 0-4 against the Reign in its NWSL history.
Seattle (10-3-3) travels to play at Houston (5-7-5) on Aug. 21 to complete the season series.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t punish them enough in the second half,” said Reign coach Laura Harvey, whose team didn’t allow Houston a single shot on goal in the second half. “We were the better team. We controlled the game.”
Houston capitalized on sloppy Seattle defense to score the first goal of the match in the 15th minute. Dash forward Kealia Ohai scored off a deflection that should have been cleared, the ball going past Reign goalie Hope Solo.
Megan Rapinoe sent a perfect pass to midfielder Merritt Mathias that Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod attempted to challenge. Mathias batted the ball around a racing McLeod to score the easy equalizer in the 22nd minute.
Seattle extended its home unbeaten streak to 21 games, which dates back to the start of the 2014 season when the team moved to Memorial Stadium.
“We want people to be afraid when they walk into this stadium,” Mathias said of the streak. “We do that really well, and it’s something in us that’s like, ‘You’re not going to beat us here.’ The 21 games is an unspoken notion that we’ve got to keep it up.”
• Solo returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring her knee in World Cup play. Backup goalie Haley Kopmayer (foot) has not played since July 26, but Harvey said she should be available for the Houston trip.