Seattle’s Jessica McDonald stole the spotlight in the first nationally televised NWSL match as she netted two goals in three minutes to give Seattle Reign FC a 2 – 1 victory over the Washington Spirit.
The Washington Spirit (1-9-5, 7 pts.) got on the score sheet first with a penalty kick that was converted by midfielder Diana Matheson when she put the ball down the middle as Seattle goalkeeper Hope Solo stepped to her right. Seattle conceded the league-leading fifth penalty on a bouncing ball in the box that in advertently hit the arm of midfielder Keelin Winters.
Washington’s lead didn’t last long as Seattle (4-9-3, 15 pts.) came from behind for the second game in a row to tie the match in the 30th minute in front of a sellout crowd of 3,855. Forward Jessica McDonald pounced on a side-footed through-ball from midfielder Christine Nairn and poked it past Washington’s goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris as she was stepping off her line to collect it. The goal was McDonald’s second of the season and Nairn’s fifth assist, extending her personal point streak to five games.
Three minutes later, McDonald found herself in the right place at the right time again as she gave Seattle the lead in the 33rd minute. Defender Elli Reed served a cross from the right flank that found McDonald’s head as Harris was coming off her line. McDonald flicked the ball over Harris’ hands to net her second goal of the game. The assist was the second in as many matches for Elli Reed.
In the 80th minute of the game, Australian international Emily Van Egmond made her NWSL debut as she came on for Nairn.
Seattle’s win puts them nine points behind the fourth place Western New York Flash (6- 4-6, 24 pts.) with six games and 18 possible points left in the season. The Flash, who are currently sitting in the last playoff spot, dropped two points when they tied the Portland Thorns 1-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Seattle will be on the road for a tough match against third place FC Kansas City (7-4-4, 25 pts.) next Saturday, July 20 at 5:35 p.m. PT. Seattle will then return home for one of their final two home matches of the season on July 25 as they take on the Chicago Red Stars at 7 p.m. at Moda Health Pitch at Starfire Stadium.
Tickets are still available for the match at ReignFC.com.