Seattle Reign FC 1
Arsenal Ladies FC 1
International Friendly – May 26, 2016
Memorial Stadium – Seattle, WA
Seattle Reign FC began the 2015 slowly. An early season international match with China was played to a 1-1 draw and coincided with the side getting their collective feet under them and making a long run towards a 2nd consecutive NWSL Shield.
Arsenal Ladies FC visited Seattle this week. After enjoying what the city had to offer in the way of Pike Place Market and other landmarks, the Gunners took to the Memorial Stadium pitch and showed their quality and why they recently won the Women’s FA Cup in front of a record English crowd.
Mid-season friendlies are potentially both an opportunity and a problem for a team. For Seattle and Laura Harvey, it was an opportunity to get back on the pitch only a few days after a disappointing home loss to Chicago Red Stars. It was also an opportunity to get 90 minutes to her depth and regular subs like Lindsay Elston, Havana Solaun, and Paige Nielsen while getting a full half a match to a few players further down the bench.
Both most recent BBC Footballer of the Year recipients saw action during this match, with Arsenal’s 2015 recipient Asisat Oshoala and Seattle’s 2016 winner Kim Little each seeing about a half of action.
For two teams who had never met there was an interesting history or connection between them. Players had met before on different teams and in internationals, but specifically that Reign FC coach Harvey and midfielder Little both having won trophies during their tenures at the London club.
Number 17 scored in the 17th for Seattle. Bev Yanez struck a top of the box shot into the upper corner to get the scoring underway, showing the form she has maintained over the past few seasons.
Even with a block of subs available to each coach the game did not suffer from a lack of continuity. Harvey chose to use her subs in a block, other than the 30th minute substitution of Jessica Fishlock. Fishlock, only a month removed from a fractured leg, started and seemed her usual self. The 30 minutes was according to plan and Fishlock seemed pleased with how it went after the match.
The PK in the second half was a reasonable call. Although not a hard foul, there was clear contact and Arsenal converted, tying the match. Both sides pushed for a win down the stretch, and the friendly ended up with a 2nd half yellow issued to each side.
There has been internet chatter about a Women’s Club World Cup like is played in December in the men’s game. After watching two sides that could be a part of something like that play an international friendly in Seattle FIFA needs to get to work on it.
For Arsenal, the trip to Seattle is followed up by an international break and some time to get ready for their next match.
For Seattle, Portland beckons on Sunday the 29th with important points available in a match with many internationals missing.